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Neymar, world’s most expensive soccer star, signs for Saudi team

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Neymar Jr., who previously moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a record transfer fee of €222 million ($243 million), is about to join Al-Hilal, the record champions of the Saudi Pro League.

The Brazil international is currently undergoing his medical exam, per multiple sources. According to CBS Sports, Al-Hilal will pay PSG a transfer fee of €90 million ($98 million) for the 31-year-old, whose contract with the Parisians was set to expire in 2025.

Neymar will sign a two-year contract will Al-Hilal, earning him an annual salary of €200 million ($219 million), CBS Sports reported.

In June 2023, Saudi Arabia’s PIF, the national sovereign wealth fund, took a 75% ownership stake in Al-Hilal and three other Saudi soccer clubs.

Following the PIF investment, many world-famous soccer players signed for Al-Nassr (Sadio Mane), Al-Ittihad (Karim Benzema), Al-Ahli (Roberto Firmino) and Al-Hilal, where Neymar will link up with Brazilian compatriot Malcom, among others.

Since joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a blockbuster fee, Neymar has scored 118 goals and set up 77 goals in 173 matches for the French champions.

However, the Champions League title, the greatest trophy in European soccer, continues to elude PSG and the club’s high-spending Qatari owners.

For the past two seasons, Neymar was part of a star-trio attack, playing alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Heading into the 2023/24 season, Paris Saint-Germain will have to compete for silverware without two of their fabulous three.

Messi departed for the North-American MLS, Neymar will soon play in the Saudi Pro League – and French national team captain Mbappe has informed PSG that he wants to leave the club in 2024 when his PSG contract expires.

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F1 signs multi-year extension to ‘US$40m-a-year’ DHL deal

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Formula One has agreed a multi-year expansion of its global partnership with logistics company DHL.

Contract:

  • DHL will continue as the series’ global logistics partner
  • The extension is described as a ‘longer-term commitment’, suggesting a longer contract than the four-year extension signed in 2021.

Context:

This latest extension builds on a 20-year relationship between Formula One and DHL, with the most recent deal worth around US$40 million per season, according to sponsorship analytics platform Luscid.

Recently, DHL has worked with Formula One on reducing emissions produced by logistics, with a biofuel trial during the European leg of last season resulting in an 83 per cent reduction.

Comment:

“As our longest-standing partner, DHL has become such a crucial part of the delivery of our events, so we’re delighted to continue that successful collaboration for many more years,” said Jonny Haworth, director of commercial partnerships for Formula One.

“Our partnership has seen the sport transform and grow, and DHL have been hugely supportive in our transition to become a more sustainable sport.

“This will continue to be key as we move towards 2030 and as sustainable logistics continue to develop, I look forward to seeing the positive innovations that come next.”

Coming next:

The 2024 Formula One season gets underway this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix from 29th February to 2nd March.

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CAF to make about $75m in estimated revenue for AFCON 2023

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At the Stade Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan last Sunday, mixed emotions filled the air. Heartbreak for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and joy for the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, who clinched the AFCON 2023 trophy with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.

Ivory Coast’s remarkable journey to lifting the trophy concluded a thrilling AFCON, making it the best experience so far.

 

During the Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony on January 13th, CAF President Patrice Motsepe expressed optimism that AFCON 2023 would be the best so far. The events and drama that unfolded in Abidjan undoubtedly support this claim.

 

Before the final of the competition, Dr Patrice Motsepe mentioned in a press conference that nearly 2 billion people had tuned in to watch AFCON 2023.

 

The notable rise in viewership was linked to broader broadcast rights, media coverage, commercial partnerships, and the influence of social media.

CAF had 17 commercial partners for the tournament, which included TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, official sponsors such as 1xBet, Visa, and Orange, along with regional sponsors like Ecobank, Unilever, and MTN.

 

Matches were shown in about 180 countries through deals with partner broadcasters like Sky, Canal+, beIN Sport, BBC, and MultiChoice, as well as 45 Free To Air broadcasters.

 

Media accreditation saw 6,000 journalists apply, which is double the number from the last AFCON in Cameroon in 2022.

How Many People Viewed AFCON 2021 and how it compares to AFCON 2023? 

The CAF activity report for 2021-2022 indicates that around 500 million viewers from 160 nations tuned in to watch AFCON 2021 in Cameroon, marking an increase of 40 nations compared to AFCON 2019 in Egypt.

 

Additionally, CAF recorded 1.4 billion streaming impressions on its digital platforms, and there were 351.4 million online video views associated with AFCON Cameroon 2021.

 

By sticking to the earlier estimate of 2 billion people before the final, it suggests that AFCON viewership saw an increase of over 300%, and this could be more when the official report from CAF is released.

Estimated Sponsorship Revenue for AFCON 2023 

According to GlobalData, a London-based market research firm, it is projected that CAF will generate approximately $75 million in sponsorship revenue from the current AFCON.

 

The tournament featured 17 commercial partners, including TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, along with 1xBet, Orange, and Unilever.

 

In the fiscal year 2021-2022, CAF’s overall revenue reached $103.6 million. The sponsorship funds derived from Competitions contributed significantly to this total, generating an impressive cumulative revenue of $79.8 million.

 

This marked a notable increase of $3.6 million compared to the previous year’s sponsorship funds.

 

The projected sponsorship revenue for the AFCON 2023 alone is estimated to be $75 million, underscoring the substantial and commendable contribution of CAF to this achievement.

PRIZE MONEY FOR AFCON 2023 

In January, prior to the commencement of AFCON 2023, CAF disclosed a 40% increase in the prize money.

 

The champions, Ivory Coast, are set to receive USD 7,000,000. The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be awarded USD 4,000,000, while South Africa and DR Congo will each receive USD 2,500,000.

 

The other four quarter-finalists, Mali, Angola, Guinea, and Cape Verde, will individually get USD 1,300,000.

AFCON 2023 SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT 

AFCON made a big impact on social media, from lively fan chats to live updates. But it wasn’t just for fun; some people also made money from it.

 

Last year, Twitter started an initiative where users could earn a share of the ad revenue from sponsored posts under their tweets.

 

Some folks partnered with brands, joined subscription programs, or got tips from their followers.

 

For example, a video of the final moments of the Côte d’Ivoire vs. Nigeria match, posted on the official CAF account, got over 15 million views, 1.5 million likes, and 300,000 retweets.

 

According to Statista, the average cost per thousand impressions for social media ads globally was $4.33 in the second quarter of 2023, making the estimated ad revenue around $65,000.

 

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was undoubtedly a success both on and off the field. The Confederation of African Football, CAF can take pride in organizing a splendid tournament.

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Premier League approves Ratcliffe £1.02bn stake in Man Utd

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British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25% stake in Manchester United has been approved by the Premier League.

United also expect clearance from the Football Association with Ratcliffe keen to complete the deal by mid-February that will give him control of football operations at Old Trafford.

Confirming their approval, a Premier League statement on Tuesday said: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of 25 per cent of Manchester United FC, and further investment of $300 million in the club, has been approved by the Premier League Board, following the completion of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“The Board agreed to the change of the club’s ownership structure last week, and this has now been officially ratified by an Independent Oversight Panel. The Premier League’s Owners’ Charter has also been signed.

“The Premier League now awaits confirmation of the transaction’s completion.”

It was announced on Christmas Eve that Ratcliffe had agreed to buy a minority stake in United from unpopular owners the Glazer family in a deal worth around £1.02 billion. He will also invest a further £238 million in the club’s infrastructure.

The 71-year-old boyhood United fan is reportedly already planning to lead an overhaul of the squad after a season that is improving following a slow start.

The Glazers have come under heavy criticism from fans who blame them for a steady decline in the fortunes of the 20-time English league champions after a period of domination under manager Alex Ferguson who retired in 2013, the last time they won the league title.

Many fans had hoped the Glazers would sell the club in full, although Ratcliffe’s investment has been welcomed.

 

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