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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 12:45 GMT
Arsenal 'may seek full share listing'
By Bill Wilson
BBC News business reporter in Dubai

Artists impression of the Arsenal team running out at their new football stadium at Ashburton Grove
Arsenal will move to their new stadium in 2006

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has said the club may consider seeking a full listing for its shares on the London Stock Exchange.

Speaking at the Soccerex football business forum in Dubai, he said a full listing was "one of the options" for funding after the club moves to its new stadium.

The club - which is currently listed on the smaller Ofex share exchange - is due to move into its new 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove for the start of the 2006/07 season.

Mr Dein also warned the current level of TV coverage of the Premiership may be reaching saturation level, with signs that match attendances have been dropping off in the first few months of this season.

Financial review

When Arsenal moves to its new stadium it will see its proportion of turnover from media earnings drop from 52% this season to 34% in two years' time.

The club is hoping to increase matchday earnings from 29% to 40% of turnover, and has not ruled out other money-earning means, including a full share listing.

"When the new stadium opens we will go through a thorough financial review," Mr Dein said.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein
We must monitor the quality of the product and ensure attendances do not decline
David Dein, Arsenal vice-chairman

"Listing would be one option, but we are flexible and no decisions have been made on that issue yet.

"We want to be in the best financial health - maybe clubs can do it (listing), Manchester United have been a success."

Quality control

Mr Dein said that, although television money and coverage had driven the English game forward in the past 10 years, he feared there might now be too many games being shown.

Since the formation of the Premier League in season 1992/93, Premiership clubs have seen their income from television soar.

"Television has been the driving force over the past 10 years... but we must constantly improve if we want to remain as the world's leading league competition.

"We must monitor the quality of the product and ensure attendances do not decline, and we must balance that with the quantity of exposure on TV too.

"I think we have practically reached saturation point... sometimes I think less is more."

Overseas search

The club is funding its move to Ashburton Grove through a number of sources, including debt from banks, from money it already has and will receive in coming years from sponsors, and from the sale of surplus property, including its Highbury Stadium.

It is also looking to create new revenue streams from overseas markets, including Asia.

"We have two executives travelling round Japan and China at the moment building relationships with organisations and clubs, and we know our supporters clubs are growing there too, as they are around the world.

"We have got a very good product, so it is very important we go and look at these markets, and make sure we are on the case."

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