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 – 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?