The Hallmark Security League (North West Counties Football League) has a history of working with large national and multi-national brands. In 1984 we agreed a sponsorship deal with brewers Bass, which ran through to 1993, and at the time was the longest running sponsorship deal in semi-professional football. The deal originally used the Bass brand before reverting to the Carling brand in the early nineties, coinciding with their sponsorship of the then newly formed Carling Premiership (The Premier League). We have also worked with other FMCG brands in forming headline sponsorship deals for our cup competitions, including Worthington, for our Challenge Cup and Lamot Pils, for our First Division Trophy. More recently, sponsorship deals were signed with North West Trains, only ending when the brand was taken over by First Group.
Latterly we forged a successful partnership with Vodkat Schnapps which lasted until 2011, Vodkat being the headline sponsors of the league and all cup competitions with the competition being known as The Vodkat League.
Our current partners include headline sponsors Hallmark Security, Macron - our teamwear partner, Reusch UK – the goalkeeping brand, The National Football Museum, and the Insurer Integro.
The North West Counties League operates at Steps 5 & 6 of the national league system. Steps 1 & 2 is The National League, steps 3 & 4 is the Evo Stik League.
The Hallmark Security Football League (NWCFL) operates at Steps 5 & 6 of The National League System and has been in existence for 36 years. However, the history of the league goes back much further in football heritage. The league's formation in 1982 followed the amalgamation of two of the oldest leagues in English football history, The Lancashire Combination and The Cheshire League. Many of the trophies we currently use today were used in the original competitions, with the magnificent League Challenge Trophy and the equally impressive Premier Division Trophy dating back to the 1800's; trophies that wouldn’t look out of place in the trophy cabinet of any Premier League team. They are currently on display in The National Football Museum in Manchester.
Over 140 teams have been members of the league over the course of the past 36 years with two achieving Football League status - Accrington Stanley (1982-1987) and Fleetwood Town (1997-2005). The latter achieved promotion to the Football League just seven years after being crowned NWCFL Champions, proving that dreams can become a reality! The League also provided a starting point for FC United of Manchester, the breakaway fans club, who still hold the League's record home attendance of 6,023.
For the current season (2018/19) the League expanded and has 60 member clubs across three divisions, our highest membership in our history. Our clubs are at the heart of the communities in which they are based, with many achieving FA Standard Charter accreditation. As well as First teams, the majority of clubs also operate thriving reserve, development squad and youth, and women/girls football programmes with clubs being used for various community initiatives throughout the week.
The geographical boundary of the NWCFL covers 5,000 square miles, from Carlisle in the North, Staffordshire in the South, as far West as Barrow-in-Furness and East as far as West Yorkshire, with clubs representing all areas of the North West and is the largest geographical footprint of any League at this level in the UK.
The league has tapped into the renaissance of Non-League football as fans throughout the country recognise the value of football at our level. With the majority of clubs charging around £5 for entry, and free child entry at most games, NWCFL football has presented a great value football experience for families. Many of our clubs have grown their attendances significantly by attracting families to their games.
The League's website, www.hallmarksecurityleague.com, has grown to become one of the biggest and most popular websites in semi-professional football with over 1.4 million visitors in season 2017/18 – higher than some league sites further up the National League System.
The League is also a front runner in the use of social media, adopting the use of Twitter in its infancy, and using this tool as a way of communicating directly with our football audience. The League Twitter account (@nwcfl) has almost 14,500 followers and achieved almost 11.5m impressions last season.
The Hallmark Security Football League is able to offer a variety of sponsorship packages suitable for all budgets and company sizes. The League is currently able to offer the following sponsorship deals:
Our tier one sponsorship package entitles our main sponsor the opportunity to rebrand the North West Counties Football League competition with their company name or brand. This deal will cover the title sponsorship of the NWCFL Premier and First Divisions and subject to agreement, this will also include naming rights to the NWCFL Cup competitions.
Examples of entitlements under this agreement:
Our second tier sponsorship package entitles the sponsor to exclusivity in their own business category. For example, our Official Betting Partner would receive exclusivity in this sponsorship category, ensuring none of their main competitors are able to partner with the NWCFL for the term of the deal.
Examples of entitlements under this agreement:
Our third tier sponsorship package provides sponsorship opportunities as the naming partner for the League's monthly and annual awards, including Club of the Month and Year, Player of the Month and Year and Goalkeeper of the Month and Year. In addition, we also have opportunities to sponsor the League's Fair Play Awards, Programme of the Year and the League's Golden Boot Award.
Examples of entitlement under this agreement:
The League is also looking to develop partnerships with brands who would be interested in offering exclusive deals to our clubs and or supporters.
We work with a number of organisations who provide discounts to our clubs due to our ability to provide access to our clubs. For example, we provide public liability insurance and club insurance scheme to our clubs which offers them significant savings versus sourcing deals individually. The League also receives a commission on other sales.
In addition to our three tiers of sponsorship, the North West Counties Football League is also able to offer bespoke sponsorship opportunities to suit all budgets. Subject to availability we are able to consider sponsorships for the League's cup competitions, including League Challenge Cup, First Division Trophy and Reserve Division Cup. We will also consider other sponsorship proposals, again subject to availability.
The NWCFL currently is in the second year of a three year deal with Widnes based security firm, Hallmark Security with them receiving the naming title of the competition.
The League also has the following partnership agreements with well-known national and multi-national brands:
Quote from existing partner:
"The NWCFL is a well-run league with some great clubs taking part. They have been easy to communicate with and want to ensure there is a real partnership between the League and sponsor."
Member clubs have achieved considerable success on a national scale, with the NWCFL regularly providing finalists for The Football Associations third major cup competition, the FA Carlsberg Vase, which is played at Wembley Stadium.
Our most recent finalists, Glossop North End, blazed the Wembley trail with a Cup run that hit the national headlines, with them facing North Shields in the Final at Wembley in front of 10,000 spectators. Their cup run achieved significant media coverage, including coverage on the BBC and ITV ensuring The North West Counties Football League name was viewed by millions of viewers in the North West and beyond.
Our clubs also participate in the world's oldest cup competition, The Emirates FA Cup. Although our clubs start off in the qualifying rounds of the competition, a number have made it through to the proper rounds, meeting Football League opposition in the process.
The Hallmark Security Football League is one of 14 regional competitions at Step 5 (Premier Division) and 6 (First Division) of The Non-League System.
Clubs are promoted to Step 4 (The Northern Premier League).
The Hallmark Security Football League has a proud record for developing clubs who went on to play at a higher level of football, including The Football League. Former member clubs include Fleetwood Town (League One), Accrington Stanley (League One), AFC Fylde & Salford City (National League) & Bradford Park Avenue, Curzon Ashton, FC United of Manchester (National League North).
National exposure for your brand – Although a regional competition, The NWCFL is well-known throughout football as one of the most established competitions in the National League System. Our success in National Cup competitions also means The League is publicised outside of our geographic location, with regular features on broadcast media, print and online.
League Website – The League website www.hallmarksecurityleague.com is one of the most established in the Non League system and has steadily grown visitors year-on-year. Last season we had over 1.4m visitors, a growth of 10% year on year.
Our partner brands receive continuous exposure through the site with permanent logos featuring on all pages. These received 2.5m impressions last season.
Headline sponsors receive the opportunity to brand the League website e.g. www.yourbrandleague.com – subject to availability.
Web advertising - our partner brands automatically receive a minimum level of advertising on our site, subject to availability. Approx 2.5m ad impressions per ad unit per season with an approx media value of £3,500.
Programme advertising – All of our clubs are required to produce a matchday programme for each game in the NWCFL. This allows us to target fans directly at matches. Estimated reach of 50K people through this traditional print medium. Many of our clubs have also adopted electronic publication of their programmes, giving greater exposure to a wider audience. For example, St Helens Town produce an electronic e-programme for all home games which received an additional 16,000 downloads last season over and above match day sales.
Social Media – The League uses social media extensively with almost 14,500 followers on twitter and 11.5m impressions this season alone.