Arsenal is the only top English club that never went on a lucrative preseason tour somewhere around the globe. These tours, in PR lingo, are set up so the team will “connect with the global fans”, but like most PR it’s pure BS. These trips are more about finding new sponsorship contracts, and Arsenal needs those.
The only disappointment in Arsenal’s last accounts, revealed in September 2010, was the £44 million figure under commercial revenue. Not only this figure showed a decline of £4 million compared with the previous year, but £44 million figure for a club of Arsenal size is a tiny figure. Arsenal’s annual commercial revenue ranks much lower in comparison to the other teams in the Big Four (Manchester United’s £100 + million, Liverpool’s £70+ million and Chelsea’s £60 + million). Arsenal’s figure is dwarfed when compared to the annual commercial revenue generated by continental European teams (Bayern Munich’s £140 + million, Real Madrid’s £120 + million and Barcelona’s £100 + million).
The club has said: “the areas of commercial activity and sponsorship provide the greatest opportunity for the Group to generate significant incremental revenues in the medium to long term”. Hence, it wasn’t a big surprise that the “Daily Mirror” has reported this week that “Arsene Wenger, under increasing pressure to go further afield to promote Arsenal and the club are now exploring an offer to make a week-long trip to Japan at the end of July”. Wenger refused to do so up until now and claimed thatÂ a low-key spell in Austria stands as a better preparation for his players.
So Arsenal will probably go and try to be big in Japan, which is a great market to explore and a growing breeding ground for up and coming soccer superstars like CSKA Moscow’s Keisuke Honda and Â Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa. Recently, Arsenal even signed Japanese teenager Ryo Miyachi a fantastic 17 year old, whom Arsenal has loaned to Dutch club Feyenoord, where Miyachi is doing great.
The up and coming tours should also help Arsenal in the merchandise department where the club is rank even lower than clubs like Lyon and Fenerbahce (according to Sport+Markt). So what does it all mean? It means Wenger had to give up on some of his principles for the good of the economic state of the club. What’s next? A £30 million striker?