Marconi blows the whistle on football hospitality

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Marconi, the troubled telecoms group, has cancelled its box at Liverpool Football Club for this season and is cutting back on its corporate hospitality at football venues as diverse as Hampden Park and Coventry City's Highfield Road ground

The move is part of the group's strategy to scale back all marketing, sponsorship and corporate hospitality spending in a bid to cut costs in the face of a sharp drop in demand for telecoms equipment.

The box at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, where Marconi has a manufacturing plant, cost the group about £34,000 a year and held up to 10 people.

"We have looked at all our sponsorship and hospitality activities and decided the box at Anfield is not something we want to continue with," a spokesman for the company said.

Marconi, which splashed out £31,000 on entertaining customers at Wimbledon this summer, is set to spend around £47,000 on three days out at the Ryder Cup in September and sponsors the Benetton Formula One team. However, it has cut the number of seats it has at Coventry Football Club from 10 to six.

A spokesman said: "We are trying to balance our activities. We believe there is value in establishing a relationship with customers that is different from a purely work and office based one."

The move follows a shareholder row about the repricing of share options, a profits warning, a dropping share price – down 92 per cent to 95p in less than a year – the sudden departure of John Mayo, chief executive designate, and the axing of 8,000 jobs.

But Marconi is believed to have booked a box at Hampden Park, the venue for next year's Uefa Champions League final and the Scottish Cup Final. Marconi's spokesman said: "If we had a box arrangement with the Scottish Cup and if we cancelled it, that would be consistent with our policy of reviewing all marketing activities."

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