SBD/Issue 175/Franchises

Tangerine Dreams: EPL Move Brings Blackpool Financial Windfall

Blackpool Will Make At Least $57.5M
From Premier League Funds Next Year

English soccer club Blackpool won promotion to the EPL with a 3-2 victory over Cardiff City on Saturday, guaranteeing the club the "biggest windfall in global sport from the outcome of a single event," according to Nick Harris of the LONDON TIMES. Blackpool will receive about $136.5M (all figures U.S.) in the form of new income in the coming seasons as a result of their promotion to the EPL. Blackpool will make at least $57.5M "from central Premier League funds next season, even if they finish bottom and are relegated." Portsmouth, who finished last in the EPL this season, earned $45.7 in central funds, "but new TV deals covering 2010-13 kick in this summer," and sources expect the bottom club's central funds income to be more than $57.5M next season. Blackpool can expect to make an additional $10.1M "in extra income from ticket sales, sponsorship deals and other commercial earnings during a one-year stay" in the EPL. If the club is relegated next season, it will earn another $69.0M "in parachute payments over the next four seasons." Harris noted Blackpool's 12,555-seat Bloomfield Road stadium "will be the smallest ever" in the EPL, but there are "sound reasons for believing they will make as much new ticket and commercial income" as recently promoted teams Stoke City and Hull City. Blackpool averaged only 8,600 fans this season, and it "can be assume they will play to sell-out crowds (up more than 40%) next season, and they will charge higher prices." Corporate income also will "increase, as will the value of sponsorship deals, and the amount the club can make from perimeter ads because they will now be part of a global TV product" (LONDON TIMES, 5/23). In London, Rory Smith noted promotion means the chance to "boost the capacity of Blackpool's ramshackle, homely stadium to 16,000," and will also mean an "entirely new infrastructure at a club where the players still wash their own training gear and clean their own boots" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/23).

NEW CONTENDER: In London, Ben Marlow reported Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote is "plotting to buy a stake in Arsenal in a move that could trigger a full-blown takeover battle" for the club. Dangote "in is in talks to buy the 16% stake being sold by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith." He is "thought to have made it on to a shortlist of about 10 investors, drawn up" by U.S.-based private equity group Blackstone, which is seeking a buyer for the stake. Dangote is a "passionate football fan and has the wealth to compete with" Arsenal investors Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov. But sources said that Kroenke "is the favourite to buy the holding" (LONDON TIMES, 5/23).

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