Patersons has started talks with the WA Football Commission to rollover naming rights at Subiaco Oval, with its landmark 2010 deal expiring next year.
Speculation is mounting that the local broker, which is struggling to post a profit, will not be able to afford to continue the high-profile sponsorship.
In 2010 Patersons agreed to pay the WA Football Commission about $700,000 a year for four years for the naming rights.
The new contract will likely cover the 2015, 2016 and 2017 AFL seasons. It may be the last time a company enjoys branding at WA's principal sporting venue because Premier Colin Barnett has ruled out selling the rights to the new Burswood stadium, scheduled to host AFL games from 2018.
The 2010 deal was considered cheap at the time but marketing expert Barry Urquhart said he did not think Patersons got value for money because the broker needed brand building.
"Patersons has fostered a parochial, proudly West Australian message but most people around Australia would not know Patersons and therefore their recall . . . would be low," Mr Urquhart said.
"The rule of thumb is you need to spend five times as much as the original sponsorship to get value out of the initial outlay.
"You need to be able to leverage that outlay."
Mr Urquhart said Patersons has struggled to do that but a retail-focused company such as Wesfarmers would be able to leverage sponsorship through initiatives such as its loyalty cards.
Perth internet company iiNet and finance company Homeloans Ltd were both keen in 2010. They have continued their association with the AFL, with iiNet sponsoring Hawthorn and Homeloans boasting Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich as an ambassador.
Homeloans is no longer considering the deal. iiNet did not respond to _WestBusiness. _
Emirates, which recently freed up $1 million a year after junking its sponsorship of the Western Force, was nominated by sources as being a possible contender.A spokesman for the WA Football Commission confirmed negotiations with Patersons for a new deal were under way.