There’s been a bit of panic in the Arsenal Twittersphere that Gabriel was slipping through our fingers after worrying rumours emerged that United and City were in to ‘compete’ with us. Those worries seem to have been misguided, most newspapers are now reporting that Brazilian has chosen Arsenal. Sport Witness has done a nice job covering off what’s been going down. I was getting info last night from some ITK fans about which hotel he was in. I also dreamt about Cessna planes last night, no doubt our obsessives are studying private-jet manifestos as we speak.
I think we just have to accept that this is what the summer will look like for most players we go in for. We’re not the richest club in the room by a margin and every player is going to make sure they’re making the most out of pandemic offers, which I’d imagine are less rich than they were in January.
Needless to say, this would be a statement of intent signing from the new Arsenal recruitment team. I think it’d also close a nice loop if Sokratis ended up being the consolation prize for Gattuso.
There has been a lot of ‘WE LET RAUL LEAVE TOO EARLY’ chatter going off. Please, try not to indulge in that sort of thinking. We’re more than capable of doing business without him and this particular moment in time requires us to do things that work best for Arsenal. We need to get good prices, pay market rates, and keep deals as clear of hangers-on as possible.
I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about the need to rethink how we did TV deals. A few people in the know said it was unlikely we’d see a shift in the way deals dropped, but, it looks like SKY has shifted their approach with the EFL (DM).
- Next season, across all three divisions, all games will be live-streamed. Even Saturday 3pms, which has been a sacred cow
- Season ticket holders will get all the games free via club websites
- Casual fans will also be able to access the games for £10 a pop
I thought this piece was very interesting.
the broadcaster will permit clubs to stream all games that were scheduled for live TV coverage without demanding any compensation as long as the majority of fans are excluded from grounds.
The arrangement will be reviewed on a regular basis but is expected to remain in place until the Government permits a 50 per cent occupancy rate at stadiums.
Now, that to me looks like SKY is building some good faith for the next round of negotiations. They are giving a lifeline to the football clubs, fully aware that Apple, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and DAZN are probably waiting in the wings to buy up the content in the next round. It’s super smart.
This model has apparently been rejected by the Premier League who don’t want their clubs to stream their own games. I find this absolutely baffling and look, I’ve spent a few hours reading up about rights and I think I’m basically an expert now. Here are some numbers I pulled last time we chatted about it.
If Arsenal sold 200,000 digital season tickets for £90 p/m (9 months) that’d be £162,000,000. £21 a game. Maybe that’s a bit pricey. Perhaps they could charge £10 per game to hook more people into the season ticket. If you could find 500,000 subs globally, that’d be a £190,000,000. Simpleton numbers, but just trying to paint a picture of the things the TV channels could do to bring in a little more revenue. Appreciate you’d have to rework the entire HERO GAME model, but look, everyone is on their arse on the moment, no better time to give people options.
Now, I know those figures are unlikely, but if you worked off the SKY £10 a game model, Arsenal might go some way to getting some revenue back. It is VERY complicated though.
Here’s my basic numbers game.
If you sold all the games to make up the lost stadium revenue, you’d need to average 500,000 subs PER GAME. Connor McGregor who fights 2-3 times a year, generated 1,000,000+ $70 subs for his Cerrone fight earlier this year. Tyson Fury vs Wilder 2 850,000 subs at $80.
Arsenal has a huge fanbase, but that sort of number is monstrous to convert.
1) Not every country as the same wealth, so don’t assumer social followers converts to paying subscribers.
2) Asking people to sign up each time is laborious. CLICK £10 3x a week might grate.
3) We might be shit so the stream of interest could fluctuate.
Then you get into the complications of what you are selling. If Arsenal is playing Burnley away from home… who sells the virtual tickets? Can Arsenal bring 100,000 away fans to the game? Do they keep the cash if they do?
Then you have the idea of season tickets. Do I get a code if I have a real season ticket? Would Arsenal broaden out who could have a virtual one? What does a bulk price look like for one? How does it compete with the Sky monthly package? Is it global? Also, what do you charge? For an IRL experience, the cheapest price was £891. No fucking chance anyone is forking over a ‘support the wealthy footballers’ fee to keep Arsenal going. But what would you pay? We’d have to sell about 78,000 tickets at £1200 to make back the money we’ve lost (tells you how important corporate fans are).
But what about an Arsenal RUNDLE deal (recurring-revenue subscription model and bundling). Amazon Prime is the best example of RUNDLE, they charge $80 a year for all sorts of perks. HBO gets away with £15 a month. Netflix £14ish. What would you give Arsenal a month? What could they bundle with a virtual season ticket?
Again, the numbers need to be HUGE to cover off our massive IRL season ticket holder deficit.
- £20 per month (9 months) = 500,000
- £25 per month (9 months) = 400,000
- £30 per month (9 months) = 335,000 (ish)
You’d need to make that fee worth it. Even if you are loaded, that £30 a month would still likely be your biggest ‘play’ subscription per month. But again, not impossible to think that the biggest game in the world ‘might’ be able to get a small percentage of their 40m person fanbase to pony up.
So, what have we learned here?
Local fans are really, really important. What we’ve also learned is there’s a massive opportunity right now to test the water by finding out what the true monetary value of our global audience is. The dream for a marketer is to have a consistent flow of revenue from superfans. It would be very interesting to see what our mega global audience would be prepared to pay directly to the club. Can you imagine how much our sponsors would love it? You’d have so much elite data to play with. That pool of RUNDLE subscribers would allow you to learn a lot about your audience and be more targetted with how you market the brand and maybe give you sharper indicators of where to take the team in the summer.
This sort of approach though is very much for the elite clubs. Collective bargaining in the Premier League is the acceptance that smaller teams would struggle with the above model. The disparity between the rich and poor would grow and you’d end up with a situation like the one in La Liga. Three teams at the top and everyone else slumming it in the cups. That wouldn’t be good. However, desperate times call for desperate innovation. Clubs need money, sitting on a now broken model out of fear of what is next is not good business sense.
Football should open its doors to something a little more fan-friendly. Right now, in America, every TV channel is putting the games I paid for via cable onto their new apps that I have to pay for. It takes me at least 25 minutes to find where the games are. By the time you add up the additional expense, you are paying through the nose. Fans need a simpler way to get to games, clubs and leagues taking more ownership might be better for fans and more lucrative for them. Well, that’s my hope anyway. This moment might end up fast-forwarding that realisation.
Let’s see what happens, the EFL has made a smart move, I hope the Premier League follows.
P.S. Freddie Ljungberg has quit Arsenal to pursue dreams of first-team management. I wish him the best. Totally expected move. He had a tasted of the dugout, no way he was going to want to go back to a behind the scenes role.
GOOD LUCK FREDDIE WE LOVE YOU!