New Arsenal chief to review sponsorships

Arsenal’s incoming chief executive Ivan Gazidis is considering renegotiating the club’s sponsorship deals with Emirates and Nike. Gazidis is understood to believe that other clubs are getting much more money out of their sponsorships.

Gazidis, who takes up his new role in January, is a lawyer and former US Major League Soccer deputy commissioner. He is reported to be unhappy with Arsenal’s £6m-per-year shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates, which is scheduled to last until 2014 and its £8m-per-year deal with Nike, which runs until 2011.

Arsenal’s deals are much smaller than Manchester United’s agreement with US insurer AIG, which is worth £56.5m over four years and the UK’s most lucrative shirt sponsorship contract. Chelsea’s main sponsorship deals are with shirt sponsor Samsung, worth £50m over five years, and Adidas, with whom the club negotiated a £10m-per-year contract after paying Umbro £24.5m to end an existing deal in 2005.

Gazidis, who was speaking in an interview with the International Herald Tribune, has been drafted in by the north London club after a period of off-field turmoil, which saw the sudden departure of David Dein, former vice chairman in 2006 and last year’s sudden exit of managing director Keith Edelman, who took a leading role in Arsenal’s financial matters. Edelman signed the long-term deals with Emirates and Nike at a time when the club was urgently trying to raise finance for its new stadium, for which airline Emirates has a 15-year naming rights deal.

In his role in MLS, Gazidis was responsible for negotiating all player contracts, and played a significant part in bringing Davis Beckham to LA Galaxy.


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