League defends Stobart tie-up

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The Independent Online

The Rugby Football League is adamant that it will be better off in the long haul, despite selling the naming rights to Super League for nothing in cash up front. The RFL has done a three-year deal with the Stobart Group, the logistics and transport company famed for its red and green-liveried Eddie Stobart trucks.

More than a hundred of their trailers will carry Super League imagery, some specific to each of the 14 clubs, some generic.

"In terms of the exposure it will bring the game, it was too good a deal to turn down," said the RFL's chief executive, Nigel Wood, who estimated the value of the advertising over three years at £2.5m.

Not all clubs agreed with him. At a Super League meeting last week, five clubs voted for a deal with Betfair which would have brought them £750,000 a year up front, compared with about £1m each year they received under Engage Mutual Assurance's seven-year sponsorship.

"The majority view was that the game would be better off with this partnership with Stobarts," Wood said.