There was a Fans’ Forum meeting on Monday night, the third such meeting, and one of the important questions asked was about all the publicity of Sports Direct at St. James’ Park, which is not being paid for.
SportsDirect.com advertising at St. James’ Park
For example, at the game on Sunday, as well as the Barclay’s Premier League being laid out on the pitch, so was a Sports Direct banner, and if you didn’t know better, you would have thought they were big sponsors of the club.
And it was telling in the US that the commentator for NBC Sports at the beginning of the game on Sunday, called St. James Park the Sports Direct Arena – probably because of all the Sports Direct advertising around.
This is what Fans’ Forum member Steve Cole asked on Monday;
“What is the saving that Sports Direct makes on advertising around the stadium?”
In reply the club released the following answer;
“The club suggested that while it is always proactively looking to attract new commercial partners and to sell that advertising space, in the current climate it could not command a sum for that space anywhere close to the £129M invested into the club interest free by the owner.”
That’s a different answer than was given at the first Fans’ Forum, when it said the club were looking for sponsors, and Sports Direct were simply filling advertising space, until new advertisers were found.
It’s good that Mike Ashley has loaned the club £129M interest free, and that amounts to around £6.45M each year at 5% interest rate.
But the club should stop calling it interest free, because for that loan, Sports Direct is getting world-wide advertising at every home game Newcastle play.
It’s time the Newcastle Board started to speak more accurately and more frankly, about why we have all those Sports Direct advertising at the stadium.
It now seems it’s because of the interest-free loans Mike Ashley has given the club, and that’s the very first time we’ve heard that.
So that means in effect they are not interest free loans.
What do you think?
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