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Monday 22nd June 2015

Thistle announce sponsorship deal

Investment advisory firm, Kingsford Capital Management, to become Jags main sponsor after founder discovered favourite artist’s love for the club.

Investment advisory firm, Kingsford Capital Management, to become Jags main sponsor after founder discovered favourite artist’s love for the club.

It was all sunshine at Firhill on Monday as Partick Thistle unveiled its latest new sponsor, California-based investment advisory firm, Kingsford Capital Management. The new deal is worth a six figure sum to the Scottish premiership side and will run for at least two seasons.

Kingsford Capital will become the club’s new title sponsor with the deal – which represents a significant improvement on the previous agreement – including front of shirt sponsorship for both home and away strips as well as prominent branding around the stadium.

However, where most sponsorship deals are forged in boardrooms and at business meetings, this trans-Atlantic agreement has a more bohemian feel to it.

Mike Wilkins, managing member of Kingsford Capital and art aficionado, found himself taken with the Maryhill club after a chance meeting with one of his favourite artists, the Turner Prize nominated and long-time Jags fan, David Shrigley. When the pair met several years ago at a dinner in San Francisco, the conversation quickly turned to the Maryhill side. After a bit of independent research, the Californian’s mind was made up to support Thistle and, much to the club's surprise, called Ian Maxwell directly to get the wheels in motion.

Since that initial conversation Shrigley has maintained his involvement and has designed a unique Kingsford logo which will adorn the front of Thistle’s shirts and be featured prominently around the stadium.  In addition, a new Shrigley-designed mascot, named Kingsley, will be in attendance on match days.

Wilkins, who is already a shareholder in the recently crowned NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, can’t wait for the new deal to start so he can get more involved with his first ever Scottish partnership.

Mike Wilkins said: “I had been looking for an opportunity to get involved with something like this in the UK for a while but hadn’t been able to find the right match. When I got talking to David Shrigley about Partick Thistle it seemed like it could be the perfect fit. The next step for me was to speak directly to the club.

“I must say that every conversation I had with the club, from start to finish, went really well and certainly built the impression that this was an organisation I very much wanted to be involved with. The perspective of the board, relating to business, sport and community, is really encouraging and I look forward to my interactions with the club and its fans.

“I hope that this relationship will become more than just your average sponsorship deal.  As a commissioner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, I understand the power of art to communicate a shared spirit. It is very much like sport in that regard and, with David’s help and genius, I hope we can bring something unique and new to an already fantastic club.”

David Shrigley said: “As a Jags man it’s an honour to be involved with the club in this way. I can’t wait to see my design on the front of the shirts and around Firhill and just hope the fans like what we’re trying to do. It’s safe to say we have a few surprises in store for the supporters and we’re already in talks with a few other artists to arrange some pretty exciting giveaways over the course of the season.”

Partick Thistle managing director, Ian Maxwell, said: “Getting a sponsor like this on board, an American financial services firm, is a real coup for us. It has been part of our long term strategy to begin attracting new sources of funding to the club and this is a fantastic way to start.

“We need to look at how to attract new people to football in Scotland, both in terms of funding and in terms of supporters, and some of the ideas that Mike and David have already brought to the table are really interesting. Everyone at the club is excited to start working closely with Kingsford Capital over the next two years and I for one hope that Mike really becomes a part of the club.

“Partick Thistle is much more than just a football club and I certainly hope that this partnership too will turn into much more than just a sponsorship deal in the weeks, months and years to come.”