Football Shirt Sponsors Are Harder To Find

The turmoil at Manchester United’s sponsors, AIG, has focused attention on football shirt sponsors. Football shirt sponsorship has enjoyed steady growth in recent years. According to sports marketing consultant Sports Markt, total revenues last year were £287.8m in the six large European leagues, up 10.6 per cent on the previous year and doubling their value in eight years. But, as with most aspects of life in the Premier League, there is a gulf between the top clubs and everyone else, and the economic downturn is leaving other clubs struggling to find a sponsor.

Arsenal Board Members Make Stan Kroenke Director

Arsenal’s board members have reinforced their position against a possible takeover bid from leading shareholder Allsher Usmanov by making US sports franchise owner Stan Kroenke a fellow director. Arsenal wants Mr Kroenke, who owns a 12.4 per cent stake, to sign up to the lockdown agreement drawn up last year by board members that stops any of them trading shares without each other’s consent.

Pompey Deny Ownership Claims

Portsmouth have dismissed as ‘absolute rubbish’ claims by the father of owner Alexandre Gaydamark that he, rather than his son, is the owner of the Premiership club. Acradi Gaydamak made the claims to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Athronot to refute suggestions that financial uncertainity was threatening his personal wealth. Gaydamak senior is currently running for Mayor of Jerusalem. Who owns the club is not a trivial matter as Gaydamak senior might have some problems with the admittedly somewhat defective ‘fit and proper persons’ test.

The Liverpool Stadium Shambles

George Gillett made a rare visit to Liverpool yesterday to see his club beat Manchester United, but while fans celebrated their victory, large numbers of them protested against the American owners. As one of them said on Sky Sports News, he wished the American owners would just take their profit and go. It was the way in which United eclipsed Liverpool on the pitch and their continuous expansion of Old Trafford that led Liverpool into an urgent search for a new stadium to replace Anfield.

England TV Highlights Mix-up

Pay television company Setanta took the unusual step last week of suspending its encryption technology so that fans could watch highlights of England’s World Cup qualifying match against Croatia. The move meant that anyone with access to the channel on satellite, Freeview or cable television could watch the highlights at 11.30 p.m. (after the highlights from Scotland’s game against Iceland). There had been criticism of the BBC and ITV for failing to reach a deal on the highlights with Setanta which had paid £5m for exclusive rights to broadcast the match live from Zagreb.

Record Profits At Arsenal

Arsenal are expected to announce record turnover figures later this month, making the club the world’s third richest behind Real Madrid and Manchester United. Turnover from the whole business has increased to about £225m. The figures for the year to May 31, 2008 will reveal record pre-tax profits of nearly £40m, while operating profit is expected to be above £50m. Arsenal is not a benefactor club and the results demonstrate the success of the Emirates stadium and the board’s policy of living within its means.

Bidders Line Up for Premiership TV Auction

Negotiations on the next Premiership television package are due to start in the first three months of 2009 and already potential bidders are lining up. The last three year deal covering the seasons to 2009-10 raised £1.7bn, 66 per cent more than in 2003. Packages are now sold separately to prevent any one company having a monopoly position and the last deal saw a 2:1 split of live matches between BSkyB and Setanta Sports.

No Shortage of Bidders for Newcastle United

There will be no shortage of bidders for troubled Newcastle United after owner Mike Ashley put the troubled club up for sale. A Chinese businessman is said to be interested, a North-East consortium is waiting in the wings and, as we discussed in an earlier story, there is also a possible Indian bidder. Ashley himself would like to involve Dubai Investment Corporation, although their first target is likely to remain Liverpool. Ashley explained his reasons for selling the club in a lengthy and emotional statement.

Terras To Sell Stadium

Weymouth Football Club have announced plans to enter into a deal that could see the club move into a new stadium.  The Blue Square Premier outfit will ask shareholders to approve a deal with Wessex Delivery Partnership. Under the terms of the deal, the club will continue to play their games at the Wessex Stadium until the new venue is built to Football League standards.

Asian Billionaire Sounds Out Spurs

Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur may be rescued by an Asian billionaire. The news about the ‘super rich’ investor comes from Singapore. Super-agent Pini Zahavi and the wealthy Asian have been discussing a possible deal. Zahavi brokered the deal in which Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003. The discussions are at a prelimary stage, but the billonaire investor views Spurs as a perfect buy because of the profile of the club and the fact that they are in London. This last point is regarded as crucial. Joe Lewis’ Enic Investment Group has been the majority owner of Spurs since 2001.

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