Exeter Chiefs revealed their new front of shirt sponsor at the weekend: another company owned by outspoken chief executive Tony Rowe.
West Exe Business Park appeared on the Chiefs’ home shirt for their home defeat by Northampton Saints, after the club started their Premiership campaign without a main shirt sponsor.
The business park has not been built yet but the company is controlled by Rowe through another entity, Exeter Estates Holdings Limited.
Exeter were previously sponsored by South West Communications Group, a company also owned by Rowe until he sold it earlier this year.
Rowe promised last week that Exeter would reveal their new shirt sponsor at the match, after City A.M. highlighted their apparent struggle to replace swcomms.
The club’s social media did not mention the new sponsorship deal on matchday, nor did they issue a press release, but players wore the newly sponsored kit in the 26-24 loss.
Exeter have not yet announced how long the new sponsorship deal is, or whether it reaches the £750,000-£1m per season valuation they were reported to be seeking.
Alongside the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and difficulties in the sponsorship market, some industry experts suggested the Chiefs’ branding could be a factor.
The Chiefs have faced calls by campaign groups to remove the Native American imagery from the club, citing the NFL’s Washington Football team – formerly the Redskins – as an example of change.
Last Wednesday, Rowe said “sponsorship across the board has been thriving” and that he was pleased to report a new front of shirt sponsor, citing that “all our sponsors are fully behind us and our branding”.
Exeter Chiefs sit one place off the foot of the Premiership table, in 11th, after losing their opening two league matches and face Sale away from home on Sunday.