The English Football League (EFL) has partnered with eBay to launch a new initiative, ‘Small Businesses United’, aimed at supporting local enterprises that have suffered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the three-year partnership, the EFL and eBay will donate advertising space at football stadiums to small businesses, covering all 72 Championship, League One and League Two clubs from the 2021/22 season onwards.

The partners intend to leverage the agreement to allow eBay to further connect with their local EFL clubs – which lost a total of £250 million during the health crisis – as a means of giving back to these businesses, as 85% of teams were supported by local merchants over the past year throughout the financial constraints of the pandemic.

Ben Wright, Chief Commercial Officer of the EFL, said: “The long-term relationship we have agreed with eBay is an exciting addition to the EFL portfolio of Official Partners and highlights how we want to support the local businesses who have in turn done so much to help our clubs. 

“We are really pleased to be able to support growing businesses through all 72 EFL clubs and the ‘Small Businesses United’ initiative. It is a fantastic opportunity for supporters of our Clubs to see their own businesses advertised in EFL stadia nationwide, and demonstrates again how the EFL can support positive and impactful local community activation on a national scale.”

The EFL aims to leverage the partnership to expand upon its own community initiatives enacted during the lockdowns, which saw the organisation deliver over 1.4 million food policies, 179,000 PPE items, 22,000 prescriptions and 2,100 laptops and tablets. 

Furthermore, club staff and players have conducted over 527,000 outgoing and incoming conversations with fans and vulnerable people throughout their local areas.

As the easing of lockdown restrictions and enthusiasm for the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship has seen a renewed interest in football, with increasing numbers of spectators returning to  stadiums, the EFL is hopeful that Small Businesses United will allow eBay sellers to further connect with local clubs.

“eBay UK and the EFL know that local business and football clubs are the backbone of our communities, sharing a history of mutual support that we’re so excited to celebrate with Small Businesses United,” added Rob Hattrell, SVP & Head of eBay Europe 

“After the financial trials of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for eBay to continue to shine a spotlight on the power of small business, and to champion the sport we know and love.”

Additionally, former Manchester United and England player Dion Dublin has also played a role in the project, revealing to the 21 year old owner of ebay business JoeJoeJMS Cards & Collectibles that his business will be branded at AFC Wimbledon’s Plough Lane.

Commenting on the campaign, Dublin remarked: “As an ex-footballer, and someone who has run my own businesses, I think it’s incredibly important that football clubs work closely with businesses in their surroundings.

“This partnership between the EFL and eBay will help many small businesses to grow in size and will bring a real sense of community to the 72 clubs involved.”

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