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BNP Paribas Fortis ‘ends Anderlecht shirt deal’ in sports rethink

(Photo by DAVID PINTENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Financial services company BNP Paribas Fortis is to end its shirt sponsorship deal with Belgian club Anderlecht a year early, it has been reported.

BNP Paribas Fortis’ existing four-year deal runs until the end of the 2020-21 season but will be terminated amid a rethink over the company’s sports sponsorship spend, according to Le Soir newspaper.

It is claimed that Belfius, the Belgian bank that sponsors the club’s academy, is ready to step up its sponsorship of the Brussels-based club.

The existing shirt sponsorship deal with BNP Paribas Fortis is thought to be worth around €2.4m ($2.6m) per season.

The anticipated loss of the financial services group, which has been the club’s main sponsor since 1981, comes after Belgian telecoms operator Proximus decided against extending its sponsorship deal with Anderlecht. Proximus, the back-of-shirt sponsor, will also end its sponsorships of Belgian Pro League sides Charleroi and Club Brugge.

Proximus was also Anderlecht’s shirt sponsor in European matches up until 2017 (before being replaced by Allianz in 2017-18). The back-of-shirt deal with Anderlecht is thought to be worth between €1m and €1.5m per season. In return, the club committed to a content production spend to help Anderlecht activate the agreement.

It is reported that Telenet, the telecoms operator in Flanders, is in talks to become a sponsor of Anderlecht next season.

Both Proximus and Telenet missed out on retaining their broadcast rights to the Belgian top flight after subscription broadcaster Eleven Sports secured the exclusive rights from 2020-21 to 2024-25. The two telecoms operators have, however, called for the repayment of the final tranche of their 2019-20 rights fee should the season be terminated due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

There are also now questions over BNP Paribas Fortis’ future commitment to its tennis sponsorships in Belgium. Deals are in place with Tennis Vlaanderen and the Association Francophone de Tennis (AFT), respectively the Flemish- and French-speaking operations of the Royal Belgian Tennis Federation.