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Mike Ashley sends Rafa Benitez and Newcastle team to do Sports Direct in-store appearance

3 years ago
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Maybe in a sign of things to come, Mike Ashley has arranged for Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle players to do a promotional visit at one of his Sports Direct stores.

The visit is to take place whilst the Newcastle United squad are in Ireland next week.

Rafa and the team have been ordered to appear at the SD store on North Earl Street in Dublin next Tuesday (18 July), to promote sales of the new NUFC third kit at Sports Direct.

Rangers fans were furious when it was revealed that retail deals saw only 7% of the retail price of official Rangers merchandise go to the club, whilst 93% went to Sports Direct. The Glasgow club’s supporters boycotted the official merchandise and recently those restrictive contracts were ripped up and fairer ones put in place.

Many Newcastle supporters wonder whether a similar (7%) relationship exists between what is sold by Newcastle United club shops, in person and online.

As for what is sold at Sports Direct stores themselves, who knows what, if anything, benefits Newcastle United.

The club announced (see below) in their official accounts in April 2016 that Sports Direct were in the process of agreeing a market rate for all the previously free promotion and advertising that NUFC gave Mike Ashley’s retail empire.

However, when the latest Newcastle United accounts were published in April 2017 (see below), it appeared to show that this idea had been binned and the free promotional services would continue.

In those two sets of accounts (2014/15 and 2015/16), commercial revenue at the club increased by only an embarrassing £229,000, a rise of less than 1%. At a time when all the other clubs are busting a gut to take advantage of the ever increasing exposure in the Premier League, in the UK markets and overseas.

The Sports Direct visit by Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle players is being promoted in a competition run by Dublin radio station FM104, which is also giving the chance for somebody to win the prize of meeting and training with Rafa and the Newcastle squad:

FM104:

Meet Rafa and train with Newcastle United

All this week on the Jam we’ve teamed up with our pals at Sports Direct to celebrate the launch of Newcastle United FC’s 2017/2018 3rd Kit

The launch will take place in the new Sports Direct Megastore in North Earl Street on July 18th. Rafael Benítez and some of his team will be instore in Dublin to help launch it!

What You Win – DAILY PRIZE

€250 Sports Direct Gift card with newly launched Newcastle shirt and Puma boots

What You Win – END OF WEEK PRIZE

We want you to meet and train with the entire Newcastle team on July 17th + €250 Sports Direct Gift card with newly launched Newcastle shirt and Puma boots

The Mag – 11 April 2017:

When the 2014/15 Newcastle United accounts were made public at Companies House 12 months ago, they included a surprising reference to Sports Direct.

Since taking over the club in 2007, Mike Ashley has used NUFC to advertise and promote his retail empire, with no money being paid to the football club in return.

St James Park was even shamefully renamed and given SD branding, once again with Sports Direct shareholders benefiting but not Newcastle United.

However, a year ago we were told that things were changing, with the free promotional & advertising services provided by Newcastle United to Sports Direct coming to an end.

The 2014/15 accounts stating that whilst no money had been paid by Sports Direct to date, a new ‘arms length’ rate agreement was going to come into effect, presumably at market rates.

Newcastle United stating that ‘the Company anticipates receiving payment for these services in the future’.

Released Thursday 14 April 2016

Extract from the 2014/15 Newcastle United Football Accounts

‘During the current and prior year, advertising and promotional services were provided to Sports Direct International being a company associated with the ultimate owner of the company, MJW Ashley.

No consideration has been paid by Sports Direct International for these services to date but Sports Direct International and the Company are in the process of agreeing an arms length rate for these services and the Company anticipates receiving payment for these services in the future.’

One year on and it would appear that despite last year’s announcement, nothing has changed…

Released Tuesday 11 April 2017

Extract from the 2015/16 Newcastle United Football Accounts

‘During the current and prior year, advertising and promotional services were provided to Sports Direct International PLC, being a company associated with the ultimate owner of the company MR MJW Ashley.’

With the club once again using the words ‘current and prior year’ they are pitching in both years/seasons together, suggesting there has been no change in terms of Sports Direct now starting to pay for the advertising/promotion provided by NUFC.

Previously, the club have stated that Commercial revenue is the best chance Newcastle United have of gaining an advantage over competitors.

In the 2014/15 accounts, the Commercial revenue was £24,872,000.

In these latest 2015/16 NUFC accounts, Commercial revenue is £25,101,000

In this past year, the Commercial revenue at Newcastle United has risen by £229,000, by less than 1%, a figure even below inflation.

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