Morning to the world, not much happened with Arsenal in the news over the last 24hrs, so I don’t have an awful lot to go on.
I did head up to meet with Ivan Gazidis, Charles Allen and Dan to talk about some changes that are coming and have a broader off the record chat. I’m getting some flack for it online, which I find a touch over the top, but totally understandable. A few things to note, firstly, I’ve been totally open about where I’ve been. Secondly, first hand information if deciphered correctly, is better than taking it third hand. Thirdly, I spend everyday moaning about the way the club is run… or at least aspects. Why wouldn’t I take the time out to voice many of the shared opinions we have as a community?
You can’t win with blogging… one day you’re getting slammed for not using your blog to organise protests to grab the attention of the board… then you’re getting slammed for taking up an invitation to speak to the CEO.
Anyway, I have nothing to gain by melting into the background of opinion… but everything to lose. That said, I’m not able to used quotes as the talk was off the record, just follow the narrative over the next few weeks.
Alisher Usmanov has gone on the attack again, branding Stan Kroenke unambitious, stating the team ‘lack superstars’. Well, this much is true. We don’t boast big names like we used to. The team has players like Jack and Cazorla, but I’m not sure you move into superstar status until you help your club make a superstar impact. We have a lot of good players. We need to infuse that squad with 3-4 world class players before we can make an impact on major trophies.
What the end game looks like for either billionaire is still a mystery. Does Stan care much for football? No. Does he ‘get’ the culture? No. Is he waiting for Arsenal up lay all their commercial ducks in a row before selling up? Maybe. If you’re looking to sell a company, as far as I know, the more long term revenue streams you can guarantee, the more value you can pass onto the eventual buyer. Don’t ask me what the formula for that is…
From what I’ve been told, you can comfortably put our commercial revenue as of 2015 at £100m. That more than doubles where we are now, putting us at Bayern Munich levels of overall revenue (£300m). By the sounds of it, Bayern Munich is where we want to be as a footballing and business entity.
It was quite interesting hearing about some of the deals we’ve struck. The Emirates shirt deal sits at £30m for the shirt, which is higher than what Madrid, through the same brand have just been given. Then the stadium rights sit at £15m. The deal struck on the stadium revolves around a reduction of Emirates signage over the duration of the contract, which opens the club up to more secondary partners.
The shirt deal, which still hasn’t been signed… is apparently going to be major. The only club likely to have a better deal is United. But lets be honest, the lack of success we’ve had on the pitch… that was always going to be the way.
So the jist of the Usmanov story is there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Stan might sell up… alternatively he’s waiting for the league to pull rank, start behaving… then we’ll have the second highest revenues which should at least sustain a competitive football team. I think the Stan and Ivan dream is very unlikely to happen. But at least with commercial revenues at market level, we’ll be able to compete for players on price and salary.
So in short, who knows why the future holds for the ownership model.
In other news Arsenal have rejigged their membership schemes. This part of the post is sponsored by a chicken wrap. Basically, the club have had the reverse realisation of The Times.
‘Hey guys, we make a s*it tonne of cash, why do we need to pay wall our digital content?’
‘Yah, totes not understanding that vibe. Lets break our content free and let it pull in many more members globally’
So that’s what the club have done. Now, for the cost of a few details, anyone in the world can watch Johann Djourrou apologise for a poor performance on Arsenal player for free. They’ve been working with IBM over the last 18months to upgrade the CRM system.
A couple of things they’re doing is allowing you to pick and mix what you get from your membership. So, if you just want silver membership without the pack, you can now opt out. At a saving of £45. There’s also some crazy algorithm that tracks what you look at on the site so it can tailor content to you.
Arsenal have also had a think about the average age of a Premier League attendant… which I think is about 43. Clearly, there’s a two fold issue here. Live streaming for teenagers is the easy option. Going to a game is no longer a standard behaviour. Why? Problem two, it’s expensive. So Arsenal have taken a German like approach to lure the next generation in by creating a 800 capacity block next to Junior Gunners section for Young Gunners. Basically a place for teens to escape and make some noise with their mates. This means category B and C games will cost just a tenner. Forget cat A games cost £456, the point is, teens can afford to go with their mates and get used to the total banter that goes with football with your mates.
All very interesting and all far more consumer focused…
The stuff that is far more interesting comes out next week, but embargoed on it. Needless to say, there’s been a big step forward with ticketing and the data that sits behind it.
Right, that’s me done for today. Tune in for more tomorrow.
P.S. There was also something around spreading the cost of joining the season ticket waiting list over three years… I thought this sounded great, until I realised the cost was £15. Apparenlty though, they’re reducing it to £12. Free digital membership goes live from August this year.