Following the fan’s forum meeting with club representatives, some interesting details came to light. One of these details is that Mike Ashley does not pay for any of the Sports Direct advertising hoardings that adorn St James’ Park, either outside or within the ground itself. It was explained by the club that the areas in which Sports Direct advertise are there merely to showcase the potential space for future investors.
Given that whenever Newcastle United are playing on television, one cannot ignore the abhorrent tacky signs, so surely these spaces must appeal to advertisers, yet none are forthcoming. Or so the club would have you believe.
It was revealed by club representatives that if advertisers wanted the space, then the space would indeed be sold. The first test of the truth of this statement has come today in the guise of a rather token gesture. The Mag has reported today that one of their regular contributors has offered to purchase 50% of the advertising space that is currently taken up by Sports Direct, who contribute nothing lest we forget. Here is the statement in full as it appeared in The Mag today,
In light of the recent Fans Forum Q&A with NUST and others, where it became apparent that all the advertising boards are used by Mr Mike Ashley for free, I wish to advertise on them and would like to discuss payment / how much.
From memory and a recent visit to St James’, there are roughly 50 boards advertising Sports Direct and of course the electronic boards as well. With your permission I would like to sponsor half of the boards. Therefore Mr Ashley still gets half the boards for free and has total control of the electronic boards should he want to display my sponsorship as well as his company.
I am willing to pay £5 per advertising board which equals £125, I know to a football club as big as Newcastle that is not even a drop in the ocean but it is an extra £125 towards the club that they would not normally see. I am willing to pay this each week to advertise my chosen company.
I would like to advertise a local charity that is held dear to all of Newcastle United’s followers and that is the Sir Bobby Robson Charity. I feel the advertisements will generate extra funds for this great charity, representing an even greater man.
Please can you get back to me regarding this matter.
The person in question also left their e-mail address so that if any Newcastle United supporter wished to help him get rid of the Sports Direct advertisements, to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Personally, I cannot see the club going for this, but what their statement should do, is to encourage larger companies to potentially bid for this space. Perhaps this is what the club has intended to do, and if so, I’m all for it. But really, I’m all for anything that will see those god awful Sports Direct signs come down from the stadium.
The club needs to be challenged. Have there been investors asking about advertising at the club? If so, why has the club not sold this advertising space? We all know that some of the biggest companies in the world would be interested in the media exposure that is brought by the Premier League, so are we to believe that not a single company is interested in the advertising space that is currently taken up by these Sports Direct signs?
I think this is yet another attempt to pacify the fans with some nonsensical explanation that holds no water. Newcastle United fans are not stupid, so why are we being treated as such?
What do you think? Do you believe that no-one is interested in buying this advertising space? What do you think about the offer to buy the space? Do you want to see these Sports Direct signs down from the ground? I’d love to hear your views.