Arsenal and the Emirates have signed a ‘bumper’ deal worth £150 million deal which allows the airline to extend their current shirt sponsorship deal for another five years and maintain naming rights of the stadium until 2028.
Sure this sounds amazing straight off the bat, but how does the deal fair compared to the rest of footballing top dogs? Manchester United signed a seven-year shirt sponsor-only deal with American car company Chevrolet – worth around £51 million per year, starting next season. Whereas Manchester City recently agreed a £400m deal under a new sponsorship arrangement with Etihad Airways that saw them rename the stadium, training facilities and remain on their shirts, however the deal is viewed as a fraud because the Airline is run by the Abu Dhabi government and City owner Sheikh Mansour is royalty.
In 2011, Barcelona signed a shirt sponsorship deal worth 30 million euros (£24 million) per year with Qatar Foundation, and Liverpool an £80 million, four-year shirt sponsorship contract with Standard Chartered in September 2009.
Without the stadium naming rights the deal would have been incredibly lucrative, but as the Emirates stadium is part of the deal it doesn’t quite stack against the numerous other bumper deals. Their initial deal with the airline in 2004 was valued at £90m over 15 years. Around £48m of that was for shirt sponsorship, with the naming rights worth only £2.8m a year.
But anyway to think positively there will be £30m injected into the club each year by the Emirates, and Gazidis insists (not for the first time) that the Gunners will reinvest the funds into the squad. He said:
The deal is all about football. It is all about giving us the resources in what we believe is a responsible and well managed way, to be able to invest in what we put onto the pitch for our fans.
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We have been able to talk to Emirates about the payment terms and bring some of them forwards, so that we will have additional money in this financial year which will be able to invest in the summer.
Those decisions on investment are made by our manager, and he has done an outstanding job of managing the resources of the club over time, and we expect that to continue, but he will have more resources available.
But will any of these funds actually come to light for Wenger to utilize? Arsenal have been continually held back by the Stadium’s debt so surely they will use a decent chunk of the deal to pay back some of the mortgage. But now Arsenal are inching closer and closer to building a formidable team that is young, has an English influence and is full of quality but it lacks a few ingredients.
With the January transfer window fast approaching there isn’t need for a massive overhaul anymore, just at least two additions. One at left back and another striker. But there is also the resigning of Theo Walcott that is a priority. So use these funds and prove to us that Arsenal FC is indeed about football and not just about making money.