Wednesday 18 July 2018

Gunners target sleeve sponsor

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrating after scoring his first Arsenal goal. Photo: Getty Images
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrating after scoring his first Arsenal goal. Photo: Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Arsenal are targeting a first sleeve sponsor from next year in an attempt to tackle their commercial shortfall compared to Manchester United and help fund a series of club-record contacts.

Despite now benefiting handsomely from the move to the Emirates Stadium and the Premier League's collective increase in broadcast revenue, Arsenal's big financial challenge is commercial amid annual gaps to the two Manchester clubs that have been calculated at more than £100 million (€113m).

A big opportunity is now looming to address that situation amid the expiry of the Puma kit and Emirates shirt deals at the end of the 2018-19 season, but Arsenal believe the biggest gains could still be in other commercial areas.

Sleeve sponsorship is generating around £8m for Chelsea and Manchester City. United's training kit sponsors are also worth £15m to them annually, on top of a first-team kit sponsorship deal worth around £47m.

Emirates are Arsenal's shirt and training-ground kit sponsors and their current deal is worth around £30m a year. Arsenal now intend to negotiate a separate sleeve deal when their Emirates contract expires next year and, while the uplift on the shirt sponsor is not expected to be huge, a comparable sleeve sponsor to City or Chelsea would virtually fund record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's £180,000-a-week contract.

Whether Arsenal can attract a big uplift in their current £30m-a-year Puma kit deal is also uncertain.

Chelsea, by comparison, now have a £60m Nike deal while Manchester United lead the field with their £75m adidas contract.

Negotiations for Arsenal, however, may be complicated by how Manchester City's own Nike deal - worth around £20m-a-year - also expires next season.

They have been linked with Puma and their successes this season could prompt manufacturers to aim a bigger deal at Pep Guradiola's squad.

Arsenal are pushing to widen their commercial base and, as well as becoming the first club to partner a cryptocurrency, now list 26 partners on their website. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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