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Arsenal signed a 150 million-pound ($239 million) agreement with Emirates to extend the Gulf airline’s sponsorship of the Premier League soccer club’s shirts and stadium.
The contract gives Emirates five more years on the front of the north London club’s jerseys, and will keep the airline’s name on the stadium through 2028, Arsenal said today. Under a 2004 pact, Emirates had naming rights to the 60,000-seat stadium until 2021 and a shirt sponsorship that began in the 2006 season. The club didn’t break down the value of each portion of today’s agreement.
“The deal is all about football,” Gunners’ Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis told a press conference. “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.”
Gazidis said Emirates agreed to pay a significant amount of the agreement upfront, providing the club with additional funds to add players. Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy since Emirates began its sponsorship, causing some fans to voice dissatisfaction with management.
The lack of success didn’t put Emirates off renewing because of the team’s consistent performance, said Boutros Boutros, the airlines senior vice president for corporate communications. Arsenal this week became the first team to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for 13 straight seasons.
“At the end of the day there can only be one winner,” Boutros told reporters. “We would love them to win and we hope this amount we are paying will help them invest more.”
The club’s latest figures showed it gets about 53 million pounds from sponsorships, less than half of that brought in by Manchester United, and lower than Liverpool and Chelsea. Arsenal has trailed in commercial income because it signed long-term agreements to help fund the construction of Emirates stadium, where it moved move from the old Highbury ground in 2006.
Arsenal’s parent company said in September it had sales of 243 million pounds for the year ended May 31, the third-highest in the Premier League behind United’s 320.3 million pounds and European champion Chelsea’s 255.7 million pounds.
Arsenal’s two major sponsors, Emirates and Nike Inc., provide the majority of its commercial income. The Dubai-based airline originally signed a 42 million-pound, 15-year agreement for naming rights to the team’s stadium and agreed to pay a further 5.5 million pounds per year to sponsor the Gunners’ jersey until the end of next season.
“This deal will be one of the biggest deals struck in the game of football,” Gazidis said, adding the accord includes rights for Emirates to also brand the team’s training gear.
Aon Corp. and Standard Chartered Plc are currently paying about 20 million pounds per season to sponsor United and Liverpool respectively while United’s share will double in two years when a new agreement with General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand begins. Manchester United also gets 11 million pounds a year from DHL to sponsor its training kit.
Arsenal’s 8 million pound a season apparel partnership with Nike compares with United’s more than 25 million pound agreement with the Oregon-based manufacturer and deals Liverpool and Chelsea have with Warrior and Adidas.
Arsenal’s majority shareholder is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who also owns the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams.
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