New Emirates deal to boost Arsenal transfer kitty

Emirates airline has signed a new 150 million pound ($239
million) sponsorship deal with Arsenal, despite the Premier League
club’s failure to win a trophy since the original agreement began
in 2006.

The naming rights for the Emirates Stadium have been extended
from 2021 until 2028, while the Dubai-based carrier’s name will
appear on Arsenal shirts for an extra five years – through to the
end of the 2018-2019 season.

Arsenal will receive around 25 million pounds ($40 million)
during the summer transfer window in 2013 ahead of the official
start of the new deal, providing an opportunity for thrifty manager
Arsene Wenger to invest in his squad.

”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,” Arsenal chief executive Ivan
Gazidis said Friday. ”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.”

Some fan groups have been calling on Wenger to spend more on the
team, which hasn’t won a title since the 2005 FA Cup and last won
the Premier League in 2004.

”We would love them to win and we hope this amount of money we
are paying now will help them to invest more,” Emirates senior
vice president Boutros Boutros said.

But Emirates is pleased that Arsenal continues to appear in the
Champions League alongside Europe’s elite clubs, with the side
reaching the knockout stage for the 13th straight year on
Wednesday.

”I am looking forward with real confidence and optimism to what
we are able to achieve over the next five years and absolutely it
has to include winning trophies,” Gazidis said.

Arsenal said the deal is football’s second-biggest shirt
sponsorship, only surpassed by Manchester United’s seven-year, $559
million agreement with General Motors’ Chevrolet brand.

”This is as dramatic as the move (in 2006) to the new stadium
was in driving the club forwards,” Gazidis said.

But Arsenal, which is owned by American sports tycoon Stan
Kroenke, significantly trails United not in only terms of
silverware but also as off-field money-makers.

Arsenal’s commercial revenue in the 2011-12 financial year was
34.2 million pounds (about $55 million), but United’s was 117.6
million pounds (about $190 million).

Arsenal commercial director Tom Fox, however, predicted that
commercial revenue would also soon exceed 100 million pounds ($160
million) annually.

”I think there’s a huge opportunity for us,” Fox said. ”We
are three years into this journey and there are other clubs that
have been investing in it in the longer term … we are going to go
as far as we can and I can absolutely see us going over 100 million
at some point.”

Also Friday, Emirates said it is hoping to extend its shirt
sponsorship with Paris Saint-Germain, which started in 2006,
despite reports in September that the club’s Qatari owners could
sign a deal with a company from their homeland.

”We still have this year so we are now in final negotiations
… we are almost finalizing the deal, so I don’t see any reason
(not to),” Emirates VP Boutros said.

”We have no indication from Paris Saint-Germain they are
talking to anyone else,” he added.