Just last week, we saw Everton sign a sponsorship deal with financial firm Blackwell Global. Today the Liverpool Echo are reporting that the Blues have now been extended a £60 million credit facility, which sounds a lot better than being handed a Black/Platinum/Palladium Card.
The deal is with the world’s biggest bank - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - and extends that amount of money over a three-year period.
While the deal was announced exclusively by the Echo today, it was approved on June 30th by the Premier League, which reserves the mandate to veto any such sponsorships. This is the first time ICBC are venturing into the sport, and offers Everton an opportunity to break into the Chinese market once again.
Back in the 2002-03 season, the Toffees had announced Kejian as the shirt sponsors, leading to the club signing of two Chinese international players Li Tie and Li Weifeng, also a first for the Blues. The deal was short-lived with the telecommunications company eventually being declared bankrupt a few years later, while the two players never really established themselves in the side. Tie was a part of David Moyes’s side that finished seventh, featuring in 29 matches on loan but injuries and subsequent loss of form marred the defensive midfielder’s career in England.
Back to the present though, and once again we can attribute another source of income added to the club’s coffers through the masterful negotiations that Farhad Moshiri appears to be leading in just his short time here. Forget about the clown who penned ‘The Art of the Deal’, Moshiri is the business tycoon who will be writing his memoirs about how he turned Everton’s financial situation on its head in a matter of months.
This £60m account will allow Everton to use the money as an operations fund for wages and transfers while the club continues to develop its revenue stream. The two biggest conveniences of a credit facility over taking a loan are the ease of accessibility and lower interest rates than through Vibrac, and Rights and Media Funding, who Everton have used before.
Thus, should a star player that Everton wants become available, the club can move quickly and make the funds available. Also, this ‘overdrafting’ ability should finally put to rest any lingering thoughts that Everton are a selling club who need to shed players to buy new ones.
Speaking to the Echo, Board member Sasha Ryazantsev, who joined the club with Moshiri as his financial right-hand man, said -
“We are pleased to have entered into a partnership with ICBC, which will increase our financial flexibility, reduce refinancing risk and lower funding costs, while adding to the list of Everton’s ‘firsts’.
“Building on the significant shareholder contribution the club has received over the last year, Everton is now well-funded with sustainable long-term capital.”
Another major benefit from this partnership is one that was previously alluded to, increasing visibility in a burgeoning Chinese market. The latest astronomical television deal signed by the Premier League in China will do a lot to increase exposure of the game in the most populous country in the world, and Everton will do well to get in now.
Ryazantsev continued -
“The new relationship with ICBC also represents an important step for us into the Chinese capital market, and we hope to develop further commercial opportunities in China in the future.”