Morning all, and shout out to the “back at work gang”.
I have never been one to take a lot of time off at Christmas (unless I am abroad). I would prefer to sit in my office and do nothing for 3 days, and use that annual leave at more “stressful” teams of the year than book the festive period off.
So shout out to all those back at work today. And also those that never really had time yes. I am talking about you guys in retail, hospitality and transport.
Anyway, I read a little article before Christmas that got me thinking (and inspired this blog).
One of Chelsea’s new owners (bear with me, this is not a blog about them!) spoke prior to Christmas about how he sees the “multi-club” model is the future of football. It has been someting mooted a few times by their various different owners.
Manchester City are perhaps the most “famous” club that run a huge multi-club network.
The City Football Group (CFG) owns and operates 12 clubs across 5 continents. Including Man City, New York City, Melbourne City, Mumbai City, Palermo and Girona.
Africa is the only place where they do not have a team – interestingly Chelsea owners have spoken of Africa as the “big untapped market”. The question is can it actually be tapped into (major brands beyond football have had it down as an utapped market for decades, and it still is!).
I have always felt CFG was basically a big scam.
Man City are the central nucleus of the group, and their owners use the other clubs to help to be “Financial Fair Pay compliant”.
Most of these clubs operate in regions that do not have the FFP restrictions the Premier League and UEFA impose.
Their owners pump millions into these clubs, who then “buy” products off Man City – the products being access to their scouting database, coaching and consultancy services.
They pay a premium for these services and allow for “legitimate” money to flow into City’s bank accounts.
Using companies based abroad, with more favourable rules and regulations is not something no.
Major businessess (think Starbucks, Amazon), use operations in more favourable tax locations to reduce their UK tax bill. There UK operation “buys” something from these overseas companies, at an inflated rate, with the overall aim of reducing tax.
It is perfectly legally, although morally questionable. More tax avoidance than tax evasion.
And CFG have operated similar. although instead of trying to get money out of a UK business, they have used the multi-club model to bring revenue in.
But there is an extension of this multi-club model that goes beyond using these clubs to funnel money in from owners.
Chelsea are a huge name in football. As are Arsenal. As are Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on. All of these have global fan bases of millions, who can not get to games in the UK.
The logical next step of the multi-club model provides a solution to this.
Instead of Chelsea (as an example), owning “independent” clubs in Melbourne, in New York, in Lagos, with their own name and history, what if they “transported” the Chelsea brand name to these cities?
Chelsea Melbourne FC, Chelsea New York FC, Chelsea Lagos FC, and so on (note: You can change Chelsea to Arsenal, Barcelona, etc for the same result).
City has 12 clubs in their group. That could become 12 full stadiums a weekend. Fans flocking to their local Man City side. Supporting them in the same manner they support the Manchester based side.
Arsenal make around £100million in gate receipts across a season. Is it plausible that this can be replicated if KSE franchise the name out across the globe? Have 12 clubs in the group. Potentially £1.2bn a year in revenue? With it all going into KSE’s coffers (rather than Arsenal’s?)
Would fans in Australia, American and Nigeria begin supporting the “Chelsea” in their country? Pay to get through the gate of the local version of the English (or Spanish, German, French, etc) club they support?
Or is this just the Americans (at Chelsea) deluded dream? They seem to think that you can “franchise” out the name of the club like it is a McDonalds. And that fans across the globe will automatically begin following their “local” side alongside the UK version. and thus increasing revenue of the group (in gate receipts).
As someone from London, who has only ever lived in London (bar university in Colchester), I am unable to answer that question.
We have lots of readers from Nigeria (2022 Nigeria was 2nd to the UK in countries that read our blog). So those reading, would you support an Arsenal Lagos? Would you pay to go to Arsenal Lagos games? Would you seem them as “real” Arsenal?
As I sad at the start of the blog. This is more just me letting my mind wonder. But I can certainly see why Chelsea’s owners – and other clubs – will continue to explore multi-club models to make further profits of the name of their main asset.
Have a great day.
First, big up to people like Kanu Nwankwo (and Arsene, playing the Arsenal way) that made people like me support Arsenal since 1999. And i have found no other ‘love’ in any other club since. This might be the story of a few other Nigerians or Africa!
So, will I support an Arsenal Lagos FC? Yes. 100%….especially if it will in turn help to develop football in Nigeria, and so on. However, we have bad administrators of Nigerian football, and on that basis, it’s a dream (Arsenal Lagos FC) that may neither come to pass, or die even when it comes to past!
Let’s keep it logical and buy up: ASV-Arsenal (Holland)
Arsenal ADSC (Brazil)
Arsenal Bila Tserkva (Ukraine)
Arsenal Devesa (Portugal)
Arsenal Helsinki (Finland)
Arsenal Kyiv (Ukraine)
Arsenal Tivat (Montenegro)
Arsenal Tula (Russia)
Arsenal de Caridade (Brazil)
Arsenal de Roatán (Roatan)
Arsenal de Sarandí (Argentina)
Arsenal de Viale (Argentina)
Berekum Arsenal (Ghana)
FK Arsenal Česká Lípa (Czech)