SBD/November 26, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Emirates, Arsenal Reach $240M Deal To Extend Shirt, Stadium Naming Rights

The deal ensures Arsenal's home will remain titled Emirates Stadium through '28
Emirates Airline has signed a $240M (all figures U.S.) deal with EPL club Arsenal that “grants the airline a five-year extension to its shirt partnership with the club,” according to Aarti Nagraj of GULF BUSINESS. The agreement lasts until the end of the ’18-19 season. As part of the partnership, Arsenal’s home venue “will continue to be known as Emirates Stadium” through ‘28. The Emirates logo will “remain on the front of Arsenal’s playing and training kits and the new agreement also contains a number of marketing rights.” The Arsenal soccer school in Dubai, which launched in ‘10 and “has trained around 4,000 students, will also continue” (GULFBUSINESS.com, 11/25). In London, Jeremy Wilson noted the deal is “thought to be the second-largest shirt sponsorship deal in British football” after EPL club Manchester United’s deal with Chevrolet. Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis said that Arsenal’s "‘outstanding’ new deal was among the biggest in sports history and predicted that it would propel the club forward as significantly as the move to the Emirates Stadium” in ‘06. Gazidis also “forecast that Arsenal’s self-sustaining strategy ... would put the club ‘at the top of the game five years from now, 10 years from now or 20 years from now.’” Wilson noted Arsenal also is in talks with Nike over its "kit manufacturing deal which expires” in ‘14. A new deal should be worth “in the region of” $160.1M over five years (London TELEGRAPH, 11/24).

CASH TO SPEND: In Belfast, James Olley reported Arsenal “requested that the deal’s payment structure is frontloaded to ensure they have funds to invest in the team as soon as possible.” Arsenal’s cash reserves stand at $112.1M with $48M “retained as a contingency fund should they fail to qualify for the Champions League.” Emirates is “expected to pay in excess of” $48M early next year “in a move that will come too early for the January window but leave the club in a powerful position at the end of the season” (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 11/24). Gazidis said that the cash injection "will leave the club less reliant on revenue from the stadium, which has resulted in high ticket prices." The GUARDIAN's James Riach reported Gazidis “received a hostile reception at Arsenal's annual general meeting in October, but he is confident" that this deal will allow Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger "to appease those fans craving investment in the first team” (GUARDIAN, 11/24).

HOLDING OFF: The AP's Rob Harris reported Emirates "wants evidence FIFA is eradicating corruption and the scandal-hit organization's public image is improving before renewing its sponsorship." The Dubai-based carrier's $195M, eight-year sponsorship of world football's governing body expires in '14. Emirates Senior VP/Corporate Communications Boutros Boutros said Friday that the airline "has yet to see enough progress since FIFA President Sepp Blatter instigated a reform drive to prevent a repeat of scandals that have damaged the credibility of the organization in recent years" (AP, 11/23).
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