This edition of ‘On The Ball’ looks at the digital growth of Manchester United, the potential sale of Wembley stadium moving a step closer and a significant rule change for next season’s Champions League.
Uninspiring performances not hampering Manchester United’s digital growth
Despite a turbulent period on the pitch, Manchester United reported record revenue of £590m for the 12 month period ending on the 30th June 2018.
The club was boosted by seven new sponsorship deals, including its first shirt sleeve partnership with Kohler, and five global partnerships with one financial partnership. This season also saw the launch of the first ever Manchester United’s Women’s Football Club.
The club’s sponsorship revenue was £173.2 million, an increase of £1.7 million, or 1.0%, over the previous year. On the other hand, matchday revenue for the year was £109.8 million, a decrease of £1.8 million, or 1.6%, over the prior year.
Ed Woodward, Executive Vice Chairman, highlighted: “Everyone at the club is working tirelessly to add to Manchester United’s 66 and Jose’s 25 trophies. That is what our passionate fans and our history demands. We are committed to our philosophy of blending top academy graduates with world class players and are proud that, once again, last season we had more academy graduate minutes on the pitch than any other Premier League club.
“Our increased revenue expectation for the year demonstrates our continued strong long-term financial performance which underpins everything we do and allows us to compete for top talent in an increasingly competitive transfer market.”
Wembley sale moves a step closer
In news that many English fans would have been dreading, the board at the FA have in principle approved the sale of Wembley Stadium to Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shahid Khan.
The deal is thought to be around £600m and will include a number of stipulations, with various sponsorship limitations, that mean the naming rights of Wembley can’t be sold and the home of English football can’t partner with an official betting brand.
An FA spokesperson responded to the developments: “The sale of Wembley stadium, the negotiated protections and an outlined plan to invest £600m into football community facilities, were presented and discussed at the FA board meeting today. Following on from this discussion, the FA board has agreed to take the presentation to the FA council to get its input now that the full facts are known.”
Willkommen in Europa: Germany to host European Championship
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has confirmed Germany as the host nation of the 2024 European Championships.
The announcement came following the final presentations of the two applicants, Germany and Turkey, the UEFA Executive Committee deliberated and voted to select the hosts of UEFA EURO 2024, under the supervision of an independent notary.
Further to the announcement of the successful bid, the UEFA President outlined: “Let me offer my congratulations to both the German and Turkish football associations for their excellent bids.
“I am really looking forward to another celebration of the best of European national team football in 2024, and I know that Germany will be fantastic hosts and that we will see a wonderful tournament both on and off the pitch.”
The president of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, expressed immense gratitude at the decision: “I would like to thank the UEFA Executive Committee for its trust and confidence. I am fully aware of the responsibility and how much this tournament means to UEFA. Tomorrow we will start doing all we can to meet the high expectations you have of us.”
VAR to be utilised in the Champions League
After a lengthy meeting at the House of European Football in Nyon this week, the UEFA Executive Committee opted to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League.
After much success at the World Cup, the technology as will be introduced at the play-off stage of the Champions League (August 2019). In addition, it was decided that VAR would also be used at the 2019 UEFA Super Cup. UEFA plans to subsequently extend the use of VAR at the final tournament of UEFA EURO 2020, in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League (group-stage onwards), and in the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals.
Commenting on the introduction of VAR, UEFA’s Čeferin detailed: “We are confident that introducing Video Assistant Referees in August 2019 will give us enough time to put in place a robust system and to train match officials to ensure an efficient and successful implementation of VAR in the UEFA Champions League, the world’s flagship club competition.”
EFL continues geographical expansion with beIN partnership
The English Football League (EFL) has unveiled a new partnership with beIN MEDIA GROUP, that will see the broadcaster distribute EFL and League Cup matches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and France.
Commenting on the deal, which has been agreed until the end of the 2021/22 season, Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of the EFL, said: “The extension to our previous relationship which includes new territories, is a very positive development for the EFL and our Clubs. I am delighted we have secured this commitment with beIN MEDIA GROUP through until the end of the 2021/22 season.
“The EFL is developing an increasingly international audience, with Clubs recognised and followed in countries all around the world. As our most prominent overseas partner, beIN MEDIA GROUP is central to increasing our competitions’ exposure. beIN offers exceptional coverage across a number of key growth markets and this renewed agreement is a further sign of the trust we place in each other.”
Yousef Al-Obaidly, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of beIN MEDIA GROUP, added: “We are delighted to extend our long-term partnership with the EFL and to continue growing its fan-base in the MENA region and across a number of additional territories. The EFL continues to grow as a global spectacle and the level of fierce competition on offer – broadcast on our state-of-the-art channels and OTT platform and supported by our world-class pundits – makes for an exceptional viewing experience. With this agreement complementing our recently announced exclusive rights deal with the Premier League, beIN SPORTS remains the undisputed home of English football for fans in the Middle East and North Africa.”