Gateshead Thunder and Gateshead FC have announced a unique sporting partnership agreement strengthening the existing relationship between the two Gateshead professional sports clubs. Gateshead FC stepped in at Thunder’s time of need to help secure a positive future for the North East’s only professional rugby league club.
The agreement will involve Gateshead FC taking a sleeve patch on Gateshead Thunder’s home and away kits as a visible sign of their support for the rugby league club. However, the partnership is intended to use the strengths of each team to deliver benefits for both. The partnership will concentrate primarily on commercial and community activities but with potential to cover all aspects of the on and off field operations of the Gateshead clubs. Gateshead FC match day tickets and merchandise will soon be available to buy at Gateshead Thunder’s full time staffed office at the stadium.
The start point of the partnership will be to develop a joint marketing strategy to encourage North East sports fans to join the increasing number of families enjoying professional sport at Gateshead International Stadium. Gateshead Thunder staff leapt at the chance to work on promoting both clubs and much of the community and commercial activity will be under the 2 brands. A number of volunteers already work for both clubs.
Gateshead FC and Gateshead Thunder Directors have been exploring joint working for some months and the recent change towards North East ownership of Thunder created an opportunity to start the ball rolling on the partnership.
Rod Findlay, Chief Executive at Gateshead Thunder said: “Gateshead Thunder are really grateful to Gateshead FC for stepping in at a time when we were looking for support for professional rugby league in the North East. Gateshead FC join an ever growing list of new partners for Thunder and it is a wonderful gesture of sporting fraternity from the football club.
However, there are a lot of similarities between the 2 clubs and this partnership will produce benefits to both. The joint marketing strategy should allow both clubs to continue seeing increases in their attendances as Gateshead FC move towards a future in a new stadium.”
Graham Wood, Chairman at Gateshead FC said: “I’m pleased to be part of the initiative to preserve professional Rugby League in Gateshead and with the potential which this partnership offers both clubs in helping each other going forward.
The way in which Thunder’s current Directors have gone about rebuilding a viable operation since the devastating news that the three principal shareholders of the club’s former holding company had decided to withdraw their financial support is most impressive and fully deserves to succeed.
An inevitable question is, are there plans for Thunder to accompany the football club to its new stadium and the answer is that whilst this can’t be entirely ruled out, it is most unlikely. However, not sharing a home in the future does not prevent the clubs from continuing to share other resources should it continue to be beneficial to do so.”