ARSENAL Football Club yesterday unveiled one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the game, a £150 million extension of its contract with Emirates Airlines.
As part of the new package, Emirates will continue with naming rights on the club’s 60,000-seater stadium until 2028.
The Emirates brand will also continue appearing on the front of Arsenal’s playing and training kits and the new agreement contains a number of marketing rights, which come into effect immediately, to ensure Emirates can engage with Arsenal fans in the UK and abroad.
The £30m-a-year contract represents a significant increase in additional revenue for the Barclays Premier League club.
The size of the deal will again stress the financial gap faced by Scotland’s top teams. Celtic and Rangers are two years into a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with drinks group Tennent’s worth £1.5m a year to each club. Neither of the Old Firm clubs’ stadiums are sponsored.
The new Arsenal agreement was signed at Emirates Stadium by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Emirates divisional senior vice-president, corporate communications, Boutros Boutros.
Gazidis believes the move shows the club’s intent to “keep at the top of the game in England and Europe”.
He said: “The original deal with Emirates was a key facilitator of our move from Highbury and this next phase of our relationship will be just as critical to keep us at the top of the game in England and Europe.”
The chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, added: “Arsenal’s strong appeal around the globe and ambitious approach to the game parallel our own approach to business, making them a valuable partner for our brand.”
“We continue to see immeasurable value in our global sports sponsorships and our sponsorship with Arsenal is no different.
“This partnership remains a perfect combination of two truly global brands. Through our global network and carefully selected sports sponsorships, Emirates is able to unite and engage fans, and coupled with Arsenal’s worldwide fan following this makes for a strong match.”
As part of the partnership agreement, the Arsenal soccer school in Dubai, launched in 2010, will also continue. Since the school opened more than 4,000 youngsters have trained there and are often visited by Arsenal’s first team players.
Emirates first signed its sponsorship agreement with Arsenal in 2004, providing the airline with naming rights to the stadium until 2021 and a shirt sponsorship that began in the 2006-7 season.
Aside from European football club sponsorships, Emirates is also an official partner of the World Cup, the official airline of a number of golf tournaments internationally and supports a range of high-profile horse racing, tennis, rugby, sailing and cricket events.
Sponsor deal giants
Manchester United – £51m a year from Chevrolet
Arsenal – £30m a year from Emirates
Barcelona – £25m a year from Qatar Foundation
Bayern Munich – £23.6m a year from Deutsche Telekom
Liverpool – £20m a year from Standard Chartered
Rangers and Celtic – £1.5m a year each from Tennent’s