Arsenal and Emirates agree £30m a season shirt deal

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Arsenal have today confirmed a long-term extension to their shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates.

The deal, worth £150 million in total, will see the Gunners earn £30 million a season for the next 5-years and affords Emirates the right to emblazon their brand on both match kits and training gear.

The Gunners currently earn £5.5million a season from their shirt sponsorship with Emirates – a figure which was agreed in October 2004 and came as part of a package which included naming rights for the new stadium at Ashburton Grove until 2021. Those naming rights will remain under the Emirates brand until 2028 as part of the new agreement.

The annual increase, which is worth nearly five and a half times the current package, has been warmly welcomed at board level with CEO Ivan Gazidis stating:

“This is an exciting day for Arsenal Football Club and all our supporter. This agreement is a testimony to Arsenal’s approach and to the capabilities we have developed in recent years as well as the strength of our partnership with Emirates.

“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.

“Emirates is the perfect partner for Arsenal and we are delighted to have agreed a new partnership. Emirates is a world-class brand and by flying to more than 120 destinations across six continents has a truly global reach.

“This reach will play an important role in our own ambitions to further extend the depth of our following around the world. The fact this partnership will continue for many years to come underlines how much both organisations value and benefit from the relationship.”

While the current partnership provided vital revenue to help fund the move from Highbury, it has since been dwarfed by commercial deals completed by rivals both at home and abroad.

Earlier this year Manchester United agreed a record £357 million package with American car manufacturer Chevrolet which will see them earning at least £45 million a season until 2021. While that deal remains unsurpassed, Arsenal’s agreement with Emirates will catapult them up the shirt sponsorship leaderboard into second place behind the Old Trafford side.

In December 2010 Barcelona agreed a five-year deal worth £125 million with the Qatar Foundation (soon to be Qatar Airways), Bayern Munich agreed a £71 million three-year partnership with Deutsche Telecom running until 2013, while Liverpool, Manchester City and Sunderland each earn £20 million a year from Standard Chartered, Etihad Airways and Invest in Africa respectively.

Arsenal’s £30 million a season package is nearly double the £16.8 million which reigning La Liga side Real Madrid earn with betting company Bwin and three times the figure which Tottenham make from their dual-partners Autonomy and Investec.

Emirates also sponsor the shirts of AC Milan, Paris Saint German, Hamburg and Olympiakos and entered a partnership with Real Madrid last summer. The airline also put their name to the Emirates Cup, Arsenal’s prestigious two-day, pre-season tournament, hold official partner status with FIFA and sponsor the Asian Football Confederation.

In addition to the investment by Emirates the Gunners are also expecting a financial windfall from a new kit manufacturer partnership. Arsenal have worn kit made by Nike since 1994 and penned a 10-year extension in 2003 worth £130 million (including £55 million in cash given in 2006).

It remains to be seen whether CEO Ivan Gazidis and CCO Tom Fox stick with the American giants or, as speculation would suggest, opt to revitalise long-standing links with German brand Adidas.

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