For those who are unaware, Aliko Dangote is the richest person in Africa. He is estimated to have a net worth of around $11 billion (N$ 163 billion), I know crazy right? Now you might be wondering, what exactly has he done to accumulate such a vast amount of wealth.
Well, the Nigerian billionaire started a company called Dangote Group in 1977 at the young age of 20. Today the company has holdings in a bunch of industries all over Africa including the sugar, cement, and flour industry.
The Nigerian Billionaire business magnate has expressed his desire to own the football club. However it should be noted he has not officially placed a bid to acquire the club. That being said, it is quite fascinating to look at the clubs financial performance over a long period and the potential of the North London super club under new ownership.
Despite the Gunners on-field performances being less than impressive over the years, the club know what they are doing in the business sense. The growth of their revenue figures over the years has been a combination of building a stadium with a higher capacity; property development; player sale transfers and; qualification into the lucrative UEFA Champions League competition (for the most part).
Over the last 18 years Arsenal have been profitable in 16, with the only losses coming in the previous two seasons. This is understandable with the Covid-19 global pandemic affecting every clubs commercial, matchday and broadcasting revenue pools.
The Gunners have a clear plan on growing the commercial side of the game. The kit sponsorship with Adidas agreed in 2018 will see the club generate £60m from the deal until the 2023/2024 season.
At the time the deal was announced, only Barcelona and Manchester United earned more in kit deals. This is a massive step from their previous kit sponsorship deal with Puma, a deal which generated £30m per season. Aside from kit sponsorships, the club has had major success in the property market.
In the late 2000’s Arsenal Holdings property development saw revenue rise to £88.3m and £156.9m in the 08/09 and 09/10 financial years respectively because of selling its Highbury Square apartments.
If there is one thing to admire about Arsenal F.C, it is how much revenue the club has acquired strategically over a 20 year period. In the early 2000’s, ticket sales were the biggest source of teams revenue. In order to compete with the big boys such as Manchester United, the Arsenal had to increase stadium capacity.
Financing the Emirates stadium at a cost of £390m was done through bank loans, long-term bonds and stadium naming rights. The season (2006/07) Arsenal moved to its new stadium saw a spike in revenues.
This is mainly due to stadium capacity increasing by 22,000 seats. With Arsenal selling out most matches, matchday revenue increased by £55m that season. The club has continued to receive a substantial share of its revenues by matchday ticket sales prior Covid-19.
The unpredicted global pandemic has slashed away matchday revenue for all clubs. However with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowing a full return of fans to stadiums for the 2021/2022 season, Arsenal Holdings Ltd. can resume making a glorious return on their stadium investment. In terms of revenue, only Manchester United and Tottenham will generate more since they have bigger stadiums in the premier league.
Broadcasting income for a club varies based on competitions teams are in. e.g Broadcasting the UEFA Champions league campaign boosts clubs revenue. Arsenal failure to qualify for UCL in recent seasons has seen their revenue significantly shrink as they broadcast matches in the Europa League. 2016/17 was the last time the Gunners were in the UCL. Further progression in the tournament yields greater financial rewards.
The image of Arsenal F.C being a ‘toxic club’ needs to change and new ownership is the trigger that can spark that change in the right direction. A Nigerian owning a club that has a major fan base on the African continent brings a lot more commercial appeal to the club.
To conclude, despite Arsenal F.C not having the success of its competitors in the last decade, the club’s financials over the years has been comparable To its rivals and it’s because of the genius business conducted which is the main point. Not having the financial backing of the owner and success on the pitch but through other means as previously stated.
The club is still financially competing in an environment that has other clubs spending billions shows the club is doing something right behind the scenes. This is why buying Arsenal is something that should be seriously considered, not as a passion but because it makes business sense.