Game For Global Footprint with Football: Sobha Realty

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Recently an alliance got inked between English Premier League giant Arsenal and Dubai’s leading luxury real estate developer, Sobha Realty. The question that dodged many minds was why this collaboration? What could be the connection between a luxury real estate developer and a top football premier league team? The answer is the audience …Both are expensive affairs catering to the same high profile UHNIs or ultra-high net worth individuals, albeit across geographies.

For Sobha, it means expanding its global footprint and helping the Sobha brand become more recognisable amongst its target audiences around the world. The group has expansion plans for the US market and is also wooing the UK investors for its ambitious Dubai Hartland project, with a newly established Sobha global studio. This studio covering an area of 4,800 sq.ft is a marketing/branding office showcasing Sobha Realty’s projects in Dubai to the UK investor and is located in the heart of London in the prestigious Mayfair district. Setting up an office in London is one of the many things the group is doing to make its presence felt in the international markets. Says an official spokesperson from the group- “Sobha Realty is now principal partner to Arsenal football club and the official training kit sleeve partner for the Arsenal Club’s Men and Women teams. Its branding has become a familiar sight across the Emirates stadium and Meadow Park, the home of Arsenal’s women’s team. Most importantly, and even the Arsenal training ground, London Colney, has been renamed to be called Sobha Realty Training Centre.”

Eduardo Cesar Daud Gaspar, Arsenal’s Sporting Director, emphasized the multifaceted role of the training center, not only as a place for rigorous training but also as a hub for collaboration, learning, and relaxation.

For Arsenal, this partnership will boost its financial standing among Premier League elites. It will also see Arsenal and Sobha Realty collaborate on initiatives to develop the sport industry in Dubai and beyond. This includes hosting football experiences, including youth football clinics, tournaments, and seminars. According to the Deloitte Football Money League report for the 2022-23 season, Arsenal is striving to narrow the financial gap with its Premier League counterparts, having generated €195 million in commercial revenue, trailing behind clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea. It started in September 2023, when Sobha secured the naming rights to a matchday hospitality suite at Emirates Stadium.

An industry insider says- “This was a partnership almost waiting to happen. On the one hand there was Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Manchester City Partnership (2009) and on the other hand, Dubai’s Emirates and Arsenal partnership which is the longest-running front-of-shirt sponsorship since July 2006 in Premier League history. For Sobha, being a Dubai based brand, it was only logical thing to side with Arsenal. There is always an interesting ‘Dubai versus Abu Dhabi’ competition at play.”

Ravi Menon, Sobha Realty Co-chairman, highlighted shared values, stating, “Sobha Realty is thrilled to partner with Arsenal. Our collaboration signifies a convergence of values, where meticulous detail meets football excellence.” Menon emphasised their commitment to excellence and growth, saying, “This partnership underscores our commitment to high standards, sustainable economic growth, and international market access. We anticipate a successful future with Arsenal.” Sobha Realty was established in 1976 as an interior decoration firm in Oman by PNC Menon — a visionary leader in the space. The real estate group has grown its presence world-over with developments and investments in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Brunei, and India.

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