Tan Kesler says Hull City taking the biscuit money shows importance of local fans

Hull City's attempts to become a global "brand" took another step forward when they began hob-nobbing with a new sponsor on Tuesday, but vice-chairman Tan Kesler stressed the importance of East Yorkshire fans to their ambitions.

McVities will have their logo on the back of Hull's shirts and on their training kit thanks to a new three-year deal. Although the biscuit manufacturer are an iconic British band, the link-up owed much to Hull owner Acun Ilicali's profile in Turkey.

Sponsorship deals are far from the most interesting things for fans but with Football League owners no longer able to pour huge amounts of their own money into clubs as Ilicali would like to, Hull need to generate more income to progress.

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"The chairman took the initiative to convince the owner of McVities (Murat Ulker), who is also from Turkey," revealed vice-chairman Tan Kesler. "He came here and said, I need to support this and a Turkish citizen (Ilicali) doing a special thing.

GLOBAL STRATEGY: Hull City Tan Kesler (front, left) and owner/chairman Acun Ilicali (waving)GLOBAL STRATEGY: Hull City Tan Kesler (front, left) and owner/chairman Acun Ilicali (waving)
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Hull City Tan Kesler (front, left) and owner/chairman Acun Ilicali (waving)

"This should give everyone a feeling we're not just an East Yorkshire club, we are a global brand."

But turning their back on their roots would be a mistake and Ilicali has worked hard to attract supporters back to Hull’s stadium, expected to sell out for Wednesday's Championship game against Leeds United, with their big away following.

A lot of that strategy has been about cut-price tickets, but Kesler revealed the benefits of the loss-leading plan.

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"Bringing more people into the stands creates more costs," he admitted.

"To operate the stadium on a matchday can become very costly with a full house.

"(But) the chairman believes as with his other businesses, if he can increase the market with more people consuming and contributing then brands like McVities will come in.

"If Mr Ulker had come here and seen 8,000 people and empty stands, a different playing style and an uncompetitive team, I don't know if he would sponsor it in the long term.

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"That's where the East Yorkshire element plays out massively. But we still have to grow so we can be more proud. Our local fans should be proud to see their flag raised in Turkey or another country because of our partnerships."

European football various competitions have their own versions of “financial fair play” rules and Ilicali has been frustrated he has been unable to spend more.

"Most Championship clubs are right on the edge of financial fair play, it’s part of the nature of this business,” explained Kesler.

"We’re in a very healthy and sustainable position but we want to maximise our financial ability. Since he’s taken over the chairman has financially supported this club and made sure ticket prices don’t affect our fans and we can create a young generation.

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"All of us – fans, business, the city of Hull – have to play a significant role to take the club to the next level because in the Championship if you don’t generate revenue, you can’t spend it. So bringing in massive sponsors, like McVities and airline companies, alongside local companies is important to compete against clubs with parachute payments and bigger stadiums.”