Arsenal Optimist: What’s In a (Shirt) Name?

Arsenal

With rumours flying around that Arsenal are willing to spend £300,000 a week to keep Alexis Sanchez and bidding £100m on Kylian Mbappe, the club will need to find additional funding somewhere to keep up with the Manchester’s. One place to find some extra money may be right in front of them.

According to the British press, Arsenal have already begun exploring new partnerships for when their current shirt sponsorship expires after the 2018/2019 season. Arsenal and Emirates Airlines signed a massive sponsorship deal in 2012 that included both shirt sponsorship and stadium naming rights for a £150m. Oddly enough the stadium naming rights continue for another nine years after the shirt part expires, so the stadium name will not change. However, rumour has it Emirates Airlines wants out of the sponsoring game leaving a vacancy on the front of our familiar red shirts.

So if Emirates flys away, what does that mean for Arsenal? The current contract roughly translates to £30m per year for the shirt sponsorship, which is the third most in the Premier League. Manchester United seemingly finds a new major company every year to sponsor a new small square patch of one of their uniforms, so matching their revenue from clothing sponsorships is likely impossible. Second behind them is Chelsea, however, who brings in an estimated £40m per year from Yokohama. If Arsenal can use their year away from the Champions League to regroup and make a serious title run next season, that level of sponsorship is quite attainable. While not enough to offset the transfer fee of a truly world class player, it certainly helps with Arsenal’s wage bill. In addition, Arsenal’s Puma deal will also expire in 2019, meaning the club may be searching for someone to manufacture the shirt and put their logo on the front.

So in an ideal world, what companies would be good shirt sponsors?

Tesla: The world’s most innovative car company splashing their logo on Arsenal’s kits would instantly make the Gunners the Premier League’s hippest club. Imagine the tie-ins and perks they could have allying themselves with Elon Musk. Sanchez and Ozil could be convinced to stay with a higher wage bill and their own self-driving cars.

Fedcom: Fertilizer jokes aside, this world leader in sulfur and fertilizers is also the shirt sponsor for Monaco. So if you want to entice Kylian Mbappe to feel at home, replicating his current home shirt is one way to do it.

Virgin: Imagine having the feel-good aspect of Barcelona’s kits from a few seasons back without the pretentiousness. Virgin is a well-run company with a dedicated social responsibility ethos. Arsenal would win points for supporting good causes like clean energy while still benefiting from having a major company as your sponsor.