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Newcastle partnership with Saudia Airline faces scrutiny

Newcastle United are poised to unveil a groundbreaking sponsorship agreement with a Saudi Arabia-based company in a move that has sparked renewed scrutiny.

Saudia, Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier airline, will become the official airline partner of the Tyneside club, according to iNews. The multi-year deal is worth an estimated £3 million annually.

This partnership is emblematic of Newcastle’s evolving approach to sponsorships. The club is now setting its sights on international brands capable of delivering substantial financial injections to their coffers.

They aim to supercharge their commercial revenue and accrue more funds for use in the transfer market.

This development underscores the deepening ties between Newcastle and Saudi Arabia, a relationship already exemplified by the club’s principal shirt sponsor, Sela, an events company owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.

This £25 million-a-year sponsorship deal received the green light from the Premier League.

However, it was subjected to stringent regulations on associated party sponsorships instituted after the club’s takeover.

Newcastle’s alignment with Saudi Arabia is apparent in their distinctive Saudi-themed third kit.

The club recently hosted the Saudi Arabian national team for two friendly matches, although attendance figures fell below expectations.

These burgeoning commercial connections may well raise eyebrows among competitors in Premier League boardrooms.

Given Saudia’s ownership by the Gulf state, the newly inked deal will inevitably come under scrutiny from the Premier League’s fair market value rules.

Insiders have indicated that this Saudia arrangement has successfully navigated the rigorous ratification process, ensuring compliance with the league’s regulations.

This sponsorship agreement is a logical extension of the club’s existing association with Saudia as the official partner for their winter training camp in Riyadh.

Talks of another trip to Saudi Arabia in 2024 are in the pipeline. The trip is scheduled for the January winter break weekend.

The announcement of the Saudia deal, teased on social media with a cryptic ‘Stay Tooned’ post, will be confirmed later this week as Newcastle forge ahead with plans to diversify and increase its revenue streams.

The club’s commercial revenue lags behind that of the Premier League’s top contenders and limits their ability to invest in players.

CEO Darren Eales has disclosed ambitious plans to double commercial revenue every two years.

In addition to the Saudia agreement, Newcastle are actively exploring options for training kit and training ground sponsors.

However, the thorny issue of renaming the iconic St James’ Park stadium remains a topic of debate.

Furthermore, the forthcoming transition from Castore to Adidas as the kit manufacturer, lauded as the ‘biggest in the club’s history’, promises to provide a substantial boost to the club’s finances.

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