Tag Archives: Emirates

Arsenal commercial partners up to 15 in 2013

For a long time, Manchester United have been held up as the best example of a club bringing in revenue from commercial deals. The club has 34 (at last count) deals with companies which generated £153m for the 12 months leading to June 2013. That was 43% of their total revenue, higher than their television and match-day earnings, which are worth £102m and £109m respectively.

Arsenal have always lacked not only Manchester United, but the rest of Europe when it comes to commercial deals. As our good friend LordHillWood blogged, the Arsenal board ‘dropped the ball‘ when it has come to commercial deals over the last 10 years, as they focused firstly on financing the stadium, and then paying it off. LordHillWood estimates the club has lost:

“20 million for the first half of those 8 years and 35 million for the second half, with 45 in the last year means Arsenal’s boards indifference and possible ignorance through their outdated culture cost the club a fortune.”

A conservative estimate that the club has thrown away £230million in potential commercial deals.

There is however, a bright light at the end of the tunnel. In August 2009, Arsenal hired Tom Fox as Chief Commercial Officer, he had previously work for PepsiCo and Nike as SVP Sports Marketing and Director Asia Pacific/US Sports Marketing respectively.

Whilst he had little effect in his 1st few years – it is unclear whether this was due to him having a different remit, or just not able to win a deal – over 2013, there has been a lot to shout about.

We all know about the new deals with the Emirates (renewed in 2012) and the new Puma kit deal (agreed in 2013 for £30m a year) but since Tom Fox has been with the club, we have seen us sign 13 deals in a 2 year period. Of which 9 are in 2013. Here is a full list of Arsenal’s Commercial Partners:

  • Emirates – 2004 (Renewed 2012)
  • Indest – 2011
  • Carlsberg – 2011
  • Citroen – 2011
  • Airtel – 2012
  • Puma – 2013
  • Gatorade – 2013
  • Bodog – 2013
  • BT Sport – 2013
  • Imperial Bank – 2013
  • India on Track – 2013
  • MBNA – 2013
  • Paddy Power – 2013
  • Sterling Bank – 2013
  • Telkomsel – 2013

The value of these deals is not known. There tend to be 3 types of commercial deals set up by the club:

  1. Sponsorship: A company (eg Emirates or Citroen) paying to have its name on something
  2. Commission: A company (eg Banks or bookmakers) agreeing to ‘brand’ an item, such as a credit card to increase that items popularity, with the club receiving a commission on all sales
  3. Provider: A company (eg Drinks providers or network providers) agreeing to provide a service which benefits Arsenal, such as providing the players energy drinks, or being the preferred beer supplier, where Arsenal get something out of it, but also get a bit of commission on sales

It is likely some are for very little money, but more the provision of services, such as the Gatorade one (rumours are we get around £250,000 flat fee, a percentage of sales and do not pay for the players drinks). We will only know the true value of the entire package once the accounts for 2013/14 come out which should show a huge increase in commercial activity.

With 10 deals in 2013 (including the Puma one) hopefully Tom Fox and his team can replicate this in 2014 and we can see the commercial gap closing between Arsenal and Manchester United. A sponsorship deal for the training ground and training kit is one place where Manchester United received £15m a year which we have currently not tapped. Although there might be clauses in the Puma contract which includes them sponsoring the training kit.

The only question left to ask is where this extra commercial deal will go? Will it halt the rise in ticket prices? Probably not. The fact we have a 3% rise for next season despite TV revenue dramatically increasing means that new commercial money is unlikely to see a freeze, let a lone a reduction, in ticket prices. It is more than likely new monies will go towards closing the £60m wage gap between Arsenal and Manchester City. Buy better players, and making the rich young men at the club rich.

But without fans where would the club be ? and where will it end ? £100+ for a lower tier ticket….



Arsenal taking supporters for mugs with 3% ticket rise

As I’m sure you’re aware, Arsenal have just announced that from next season, tickets will be 3% more expensive. This has angered many people, including me, but what has angered me more is the people seemingly justifying the hike.

I really feel like some people miss the point with this price increase. On my twitter feed, I saw various defences for Arsenal’s decision to up prices (above inflation), the most ridiculous being the argument that an extra £30 for a season ticket holder is equivalent to just two meals at Nandos. Now I feel there are two points to be made from this; firstly, trivialising a £30 increase doesn’t justify the lengths that some people go to in order to go see The Arsenal each year.

Many are already on the brink, and another £30 may cause some to a) be financially unable to continue paying for their season ticket and b) feel disillusioned with a club that they have loyally shelled out for year in year out, only to be rewarded with no trophies and another price increase. Some people may be privileged enough to ensure any increase in the cost of season tickets not make a dent in their wallet, but working class people who spend a large percentage of their cash on tickets may not laugh off £30 the same way.

And if we are going to dismiss this year’s hike, then where do we draw the line in the sand? If £30 is fine, then why not £50? Do we go up by £75 the year after, and then hit three figures next time round? The relative expense of paying to see Arsenal is always subjective and dependent on the individual, but it’s the principle that stands. Off the back of a lucrative TV deal, not to mention a new contract with Fly Emirates and an agreement with Puma, it seems particularly bullish to make people pay even more, especially in the face of a trophy-less era stretching what is now close to a decade.

I hear so often that football is now a business well enough, and I also get that Arsenal is based in one of the most affluent parts of the country. But to me, if you view Arsenal no differently to Tesco or Argos, you’re seeing football in a weird way. Arsenal should not be solely about money, it should be about entertaining its fans, serving its local community and looking after its own.

Arsenal do not deserve full criticism, as schemes such as £10 Junior tickets prove. But it doesn’t deter from the fact that many supporters are being taken for mugs. We’re top of the league and through to the knockouts in Europe but heavy handed stewarding and this 3% increase are taking the buzz away from the place. No doubt the majority will continue to pay up and support the team as they have done through thick and thin, and although 3% is nothing to some, the sheer cheek of Arsenal to up the prices shows the troubled way football is heading. Fans shouldn’t take this lightly.


Did Nike restrict Arsenal wearing suits?

Picture the scene, it is a big match in the Premier League. Sky camera’s are there early, eagerly awaiting live pictures of the players coming off the coach. The pictures will be used by all news outlets across the globe. They will reach as many people as who watch the game itself. Sky Sports News, for example, show live footage of every Premier League club arriving to their respected ground on a Saturday. Pre-game has become big news.

Now you are the kit sponsors of a club. You also have your logo’s on the club tracksuits. Be it Nike or Fly Emirates, or whoever is sponsoring the club at that point, your logo is on that track suit. Now there are only a the few times it is worth having your logo on the track suit. The first is training ground pictures, however these are often covered up by bibs. The second is when players wear tracksuits as they get off the coach and these pictures are beamed around the world, beaming your logo around the world.Arsenal Tracksuit

Now previously, when the discussion of wearing suits before games has been raised by fans, the answer from the club has always been clear and unequivocal. Arsenal did not wear suits as the management of the club felt is more important for players travelling to games to be comfortable than smart. Anyone who commutes in a suit will know that, travelling over long distances, they can get uncomfortable. How many people reading this wears sweatpants and hoodies when they go on long flights? Elastic wastes, cotton t-shirts and track tops are more comfortable the suits. It was a legitimate reason for not wearing a suit.

Before the game against Liverpool, as revealed by ourselves, Arsenal re-introduced the wearing of suits before home games. In a clear move away from the previous stock theory of comfort, it is clear the clubs policy has changed. When the journey from London Colney to the Emirates is so short – 17.8 miles, 57 minutes in current traffic, wearing a suit should not be problematic. It makes me think, was the previous stock answer actually a cover up for Nike and/or Fly Emirates?

With kit deals being so lucrative, sponsors want to get their maximum value. Part of this is having those pictures of players arriving to the stadium pre-game. The thinking is that it was actually in the contract of both Nike and/or Fly Emirates that players would arrive to games wearing tracksuits, bearing the sponsors logos, rather than suits.

It is rumoured that upon taking the captaincy last summer, Thomas Vermaelen requested the players start to arrive to games in suits. Smarting themselves up, showing the class that is required to represent Arsenal Football Club. Usually at Arsenal, what the captain wants, he gets, when it comes to fashion. The most famous example is every player wears the same length sleeve as the captain.

Now if Thomas Vermaelen wanted the players to wear suits, why has it taken so long for the clubs to role this out? The only answer can be that it was not implemented to appease the sponsors. Since then, Arsenal have renegotiated their deal with Emirates, as well as signed a new kit sponsorship with Puma. Within these new deals, you have to think Arsenal removed the clause that players will wear tracksuits to games, therefore opening the way up for players to wear suits for games.

With the Nike deal now basically over, and the new Emirates deal in place, the previous restrictions placed upon the club by the sponsors is now lifted. And that means Arsenal players will once again wear suits to games.

Arsenal Suits

It is a sad indictment that Arsenal were willing to sell their class, their history of wearing suits, to the sponsors, but that is the world we live in now. A world where your stadium is now names after a sponsor. A world where the level of corporate income is more important than the standard of coaching. The game is now about consumerism rather than sport. But that’s another blog!

Anyway, no matter what the reasons are that we are back wearing suits, it must continue. We are the classy club in England. We have the history. We are the gentlemen of the game. Arsenal players wearing suits before games should not be about sponsorship, should not be about politics, it should be a given. Arsenal are class.