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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Sports Direct Must Start Paying For Their Advertising

9:34 am, Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 17 Comments

When you watch the Newcastle home games on TV, like many fans around the world do, the viewer is confronted with advertisements for Sports Direct all over the place,  and while the stadium is still called St. James’ Park (thank goodness) independent viewers must wonder what Sports Direct have to do with the club.

mike ashley

Mike Ashley – gets free advertising for Sports Direct

Of course that’s Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s other business, and at the last fan forum meeting in September, the question was asked to John Irving, if  Sports Direct paid for that adverting at St. James’ Park, and it was confirmed they don’t.

We’re not sure if that is even legal, because Sports Direct is a separate company from Newcastle United, and Sports Direct should be paying Newcastle United for that world-wide advertising – its really a no brainer.

And John Irving then said Sports Direct were only using space that would not otherwise be used, and that’s according to the report from Peter Fanning of NUST coming out of that meeting.

But that all sounds just too convenient.

The fact that Newcastle make only £13M from commercial income has been given wide publicity recently – and the space that Sports Direct takes up at the ground – and it’s a lot – is apparently available for commercial advertising.

But really what needs to happen and is only good business practice, is that Sports Direct should be paying for that advertising, and the fact they are not is alarming.

And we suppose when the ground was renamed Sport Direct Arena for several months, we have to assume they didn’t pay for that advertising either.

A very quick and easy way for Newcastle to increase their commercial revenue is to have Sports Direct pay the going rate for the advertising.

That amount is simply what the club would charge another company for the adverts Sports Direct is currently getting for free.

And it also affords Mike Ashley a chance of financially supporting the club – so we can compete with the likes of Manchester United and the other big clubs.

And when Mike Ashley took the club over back in 2007, then Chairman Chris Mort told the fans that Mike was willing to put up to £20M each season of his own money into the club, although we don’t hear much of that these days.

To get free advertising right now from Newcastle United is simply using the club for his business interests, and that’s not good.

What do you think?



Tags: Financials · Newcastle News · Other News · Premier League



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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sticklebricks // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    There is arguments for both sides of this:

    If Sports Direct were paying for the advertising then this would help the clubs books look better/club would be in a better position.

    But then on the other hand MA is charging no interest to the club on his 100M? loan, whereas if this was from another source we would probably be paying more in interest than having Sports Direct (or another brand) advertising..

    Unfortunately its MA club and he can do what he wants and as fans all we can do is get behind the team and support them. Eitherway I don’t think hes doing anything that bad here..

  • 2 70TWO // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    To right, but what would you rather have ‘Sports Direct’ or ‘Advertise here’ which is NUFC ‘convenient’ argument.

  • 3 Ibizatoon // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Sticklebricks…I think a fair few could go along with that, but again it’s down to communication.

    I have always assumed the “free advertising” was some form of set off against Ashleys “loans” to the club, but they claim the loans to be interest free.

    They can’t have it both ways, just say it as it is and then we can move on.

    Imo, they really do make things so much worse for themselves with all the bad feeling caused by misdirection.

  • 4 Ibizatoon // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    70Two…Not sure how much I believe the whole “we do it to show the potential” argument.

    How long have the signs been there? Taking a while for companies to realise this potential, isn’t it?

  • 5 cyprus // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Ed dude,
    I’m guessing you weren’t an accountant over at IBM :) For more balanced views check posts above.
    Let’s talk about the game! Or is it too early. Tired of this ongoing theme :(

  • 6 cyprus // Nov 6, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    We could help AP here! (Yes, I know you read us you silver fox you)

    Break down their opposition, identify weaknesses, make fun of Soltado, laugh at AVB, weep at the impending massacre. Odds. Lawrie’s predictions. Any subject, Ed. But related to the game :)

  • 7 lesh // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Ibiza. The point surely is whether the club’s actually advertising the fact that the space currently allocated to Sports Direct IS available for rent.

    A simple way to achieve that is to have boards saying something to the effect of ‘This advertising space is available for rent’ plus contact details.

    Or, delegate the task of finding advertisers to an agency.

    Either would demonstrate good faith were Ashley to agree to that and that all revenues therefrom are paid to the club.

    But, that also brings up the matter of interest rates on Ashley’s loans.

    Maybe Ashley needs to negotiate those issues with er…..

  • 8 LEROI // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Aye the game is too early 12 oclock what’s that all about hahaha?

  • 9 cyprus // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    If it were that simple,
    NUFC and Wonga should pay US to wear and consequently promote those companies whenever we wear those shirts.
    Btw Mike, that ugly lime away shirt of ours (here at SD in Nicosia), please notify to drop the price even further (say 10 euros, now 40) so i can get me one. Thanks.

  • 10 martoon // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    All I know is if I was Wonga I would not be happy – If I was paying for the ground sponsorship then I would expect the Wonga name to plastered all over the ground with the most prominence. I noticed on Sunday that on the ‘Howay the Lads’ poster in the tunnel there is a SD sign – really taking the p*ss.

  • 11 RONNIE147 // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I heard a rumour a few weeks ago that some1 from the bobby Robson cancer trust rang the club asking about this space and how much it would cost and was told by advertising dept that this space was not available to use. They wouldn’t even give them a price. This bullshit that he’s just advertising sports direct to show potential companies what is available is yet again by looks of it another lie. We all need to wise up as to what is going on at a great club, Ashley, kinnear n pardumb have no interest in progressing r club, all we are is an advertisement board for his company. N the other 2 r nothing more than puppets. Look at pardumb after Chelsea game dedicating win to Ashley saying he’s a fan! A fan who doesn’t have any ambition, doesn’t want to buy players, would rather hire his drinking buddies than any1 qualified to progress the club, and who bans any1 who tells the truth about his regime. We need these lot gone, only then will our great club be back where we belong!

  • 12 toonluvva // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    To MA, NUFC exists solely to act as a vehicle to provide an advertising medium for SportsDirect.

    Why pay for something that you can get for free? Well, actually better than free because he receives TV revenues to advertise SD.

    There is no ambition at this club under his ownership. Simply maintain PL status, but not necessarily at all costs.

  • 13 ilovetoon8788 // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    sportsdirect site is a good site for Ashley to advertise his own players.

    Like the recent Cabaye news in their site. hahah. it was basically telling Arsenal to come back with a bid. lol.

  • 14 banjax // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    No doubt as owner Mike Ashley will see this advertising as a perk, but the Inland Revenue will see it as a ‘benefit in kind’. So Ashley more likely than not, will have to pay tax on its value at some stage. That value will be based on like for like revenue from similar parts of St James’s Park. So Ed, he won’t be getting away scot free. Of course what he could do is use this value to reduce the loan he is due from the club and thus he could reduce his selling price and we could get rid of him !

  • 15 Ibizatoon // Nov 6, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Lesh…The point? There’s only one? :)

    Absolutely, truth is, they don’t appear to make any effort to have the current SD signs taken over by a paying entity.

    So don’t claim that to be the case. Just call it as it is, free advertising for SD. If they feel that’s justified as Mike has invested / loaned money to the club then fine, but say just that.

  • 16 Rooster // Nov 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Ed, its a situation were two wrongs dont make a right, it was better for MA who was in a position to give the interest free loan knowing the other way was finance and interest payments, it was his fault beacuse he did not do his due dilligence, his mistake which he had the power to right, but without doubt he should be paying for his advertising at SJP, its criminal what he is doing, we get nothing from Sports Direct and he literally gets world wide exposure from NUFC.

    It really is just pulling a fast one which is costing the club, as i said the loan was needed, he supplied it cos it suited his needs and he could do it.

    But thar does not give him the right to use NUFC and SJP, free gratis!!

    As was said in your edit, completly out of order and in my view it is defrauding NUFC!!!!

  • 17 lesh // Nov 6, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Ibiza @15

    Ask Ashley to just say that?

    What? Asking Ashley to say anything to the fans us like trying to pin down a kangaroo on a trampoline!




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