Invest in Perth, the inward investment arm of Perth and Kinross Council, have secured an innovative partnership deal with St Johnstone FC in a move aimed at developing closer links with the city’s business community.
The partnership – the first of its kind in Scottish football – has been sealed in time for the much-anticipated start of the Saints run in European football next season.
The tie-up, which will see Invest in Perth become first team strip sponsors for the 2015-16 season, is being seen as playing a major part in better connecting the McDiarmid Park club with the city of Perth.
In a bold move they’ve rejected the traditional commercial shirt deal route and chosen to work with Invest in Perth and its network of contacts to promote sponsorship and corporate social responsibility opportunities with the club.
Binn Group, an Invest in Perth Ambassador organisation, have also agreed to sponsor the back-of-shirts, underlining the drive to have businesses in Perth City Region see the benefits of developing closer associations with their local football team.
Invest in Perth aims to position Perth City Region as the most desirable place in Scotland in which to live, work, invest and visit.
Councillor Ian Miller, Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, who manage the Invest in Perth campaign, said the partnership aims to bring significant benefits to the economic and social life of the city.
He said: “With St Johnstone set to go on its European journey, this ground-breaking tie-up means we have a fabulous opportunity to promote the city to national and international audiences.
“The key behind this decision is that both the Council and St Johnstone have recognised that more needs to be done to associate the club with the city of Perth.
“The club is a major asset to the city and wider region in a number of ways.
“As well as proudly representing Perth in footballing terms, St Johnstone has a huge programme of community activity which contributes greatly to the attractiveness of the city as a place to live which we will be looking to develop further with them.
“But the partnership with Invest in Perth also provides a real opportunity to bring together the business community in Perth like never before to promote economic opportunities and collaborative activity.”
Steve Brown, Chairman of St Johnstone FC, said: “We are delighted to take forward this exciting new opportunity with Invest in Perth – and to further develop our desire to connect with the people and businesses of Perth.
“By taking the decision to partner with Invest in Perth, and not simply go for the highest sponsorship deal we could secure, we want local businesses and people to engage more in the life of St Johnstone.
“We believe this can play a major part to support long-term sustainability for the club and its operations.”
Scotland’s leading independent waste management and recycling company Binn Group has shown their support once again as proudly committed back-of-shirt sponsors.
Binn Group Chairman John MacGregor said: “As St Johnstone embark on what we hope will be another successful campaign in the Premiership and in Europe, we are proud to align ourselves with the team and help support them through the 2015/16 campaign.
“As two businesses operating in the top division, Binn Group and St Johnstone share the same goals and ambitions for this season and beyond.”
Mr MacGregor said St Johnstone represented a platform where businesses and the community worked effectively together and that he was happy to be involved with both the club and the innovative IIP programme.
St Johnstone has become the first Scottish club to commence their pre-season training as they await the draw on June 22 to see who they will play in the Europa League.
In the past, St Johnstone’s European exploits have provided the opportunity to promote economic links with Perth. The club’s tie with Turkish side Eskisehirspor in 2012 led to Perth making connections with Eskisehir (the team’s home city in Turkey) to share knowledge on low carbon and Smart city technologies while other potential links are still being explored.
As well as looking at ways to boost St Johnstone’s community activities – which cover all aspects of social inclusion and promoting healthy lifestyles – Invest in Perth will also be working closely with local business support partners, including Chamber of Commerce and Perth College UHI to ensure all opportunities for development are maximised.