Al Ahly SC grow by leaps and bounds



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Al Ahly on Coliseum MENA Image: Al Ahly SC & MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Mohamed Serageldin is the Board Member of the top-flight club Al Ahly SC in Egypt. He is also a Teaching Assistant at the American University in Cairo and he boasts vast knowledge as regards the stadium industry.

Mohamed Serageldin shares exclusive details with ‘Coliseum’ on the under-construction home venue of Al Ahly SC and how the club’s rise has been meteoric over the years.
 

Al Ahly SC details

Al Ahly SC is the most decorated football club in the world. The Egyptian professional sports club is based in Cairo and plays in the Egyptian Premier League, the top tier of the Egyptian football league system. The club has also participated in six FIFA Club World Cups™ with their best performance being third place at the 2006 and 2020 edition.

The Al Ahly club was established in 1907 and has been headed by 14 different Presidents along the course of history. It is the most decorated club right now with 42 national leagues – Egyptian national leagues, 11 National Super Cup, 10 African Champions League, and eight Super African Cup.

Informed Mohamed Serageldin, “Al Ahly SC is the leading club in Africa and Egypt and is the second most decorated club in the world after Real Madrid CF (Spanish professional football club) and boasts 24 international trophies in their kitty. They have also participated in the soccer showpiece – FIFA World Cup™ – seven times.”

Social media footprint

The Al Ahly SC boasts huge social media footprint – more than 13 million followers on Facebook, 60 million on YouTube and eight million on Instagram and Twitter.
 

Humane face

The club is not just known for its pitch prowess, but it has a humanitarian side too as Serageldin informed that Al Ahly SC has a tie-up with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support children’s rights – “We have also set up a cancer hospital in Egypt and have an arrangement with the American University in Cairo for sports-related educational activities and sports-related educational programs.”
 

Gaining weightage

Over the years, the Al Ahly SC has carved a niche for itself and its market value has increased rapidly as he put in, “Every three years we have a different contract for our sponsorship. In 2011, our market value and sponsorship value stood at 150 to 200 million Egyptian pounds and now in 2022 it stands at 500 million Egyptian pounds. It has multiplied 100 percent every three years.”
 

Al Ahly SC branches

 

Gezeira Branch

  • Opened on February 26th, 1909;
  • Home to the iconic 15,000-capacity Mokhtar El Tetsh Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, the first stadium of Al Ahly SC where they played during the 40s and 50s;
  • Boasts two swimming pools, professional gym and a library, tennis and squash courts; and
  • El Amir Abdullah El Faisal’s Sports Hall.

 

Nasr City Branch

  • Established in 1992;
  • Spreads over 50 acres of land;
  • Training grounds;
  • Boasts 10 tennis courts;
  • Well-equipped gym; and
  • Athletics track.

 

Sheikh Zayed Branch

  • Opened in the year 2015;
  • Spread over 130 acres of land;
  • Boasts two stadia; and
  • Six tennis courts.

 

Fifth Settlement Branch

Serageldin informed that the existing branches are in different places of Cairo and one branch is presently under construction. The club has about 60 million paid members.

He added, “The Sheikh Zayed Branch is the newest one as well as the biggest branch. Three arenas sit in the Sheikh Zayed Branch – one for gymnastics, one for karate and one for squash. Our new stadium will come up in Sheikh Zayed City.
 

Al Ahly We Al Salam Stadium

The home venue (a venue which they can call venue in the real sense of the term) of Al Ahly SC is presently under construction in New Cairo.

The club struck a deal two years back and presently treats the Al Ahly We Al Salam Stadium as their home ground.

As he informed, “We struck a deal two years back and the agreement has been reached for 10 years till our new stadium comes up. At the Al Ahly We Al Salam Stadium, we have our club name tagged to the stadium, our brand is all over the facility. We are paying less rent and bringing in more revenue and the venue has kind of brought stability to the Al Ahly SC who otherwise had to keep moving from one venue to the other.”
 

Al Ahly SC new home

The new home arena of Al Ahly SC will boast huge parking facilities, museum, hotel, which would be lodged inside the stadium, a medical center, commercial area, offices, and training fields.

Serageldin stated that they want to garner maximum revenue out of their new stadium and provide an exhilarating experience to fans, something which is not provided by the other stadia in Egypt right now.

He lamented that as the club did not have its own home arena so they lose out on revenue – “According to international clubs, matchday generate about 27 percent of the revenue of the clubs. So, mainly we depend on the commercial rights, the TV rights and the memberships of the club. Compared to our huge fan base, we are not being able to rake in the moolah in the form of revenue earnings due to the single reason that we still do not have our own venue. So, when we move to our own facility, our revenue earnings will increase.”
 

Expenses and revenues

 

Al Ahly Stadium cost

Serageldin noted, “The Sheikh Zayed club got built in 2015 and spreads over 150 acres. We have already utilized 50 acres of land and we still have 80 acres remaining. Our stadium will need 50 acres out of these 80 acres. As it will be a 60,000-capacity venue, the expected price tag of our new stadium stands at 250 million dollars.”
 

Revenue from tickets

  • Normal tickets
  • Seasonal tickets
  • Field rental/events
  • Naming rights/sponsors

 
He informed that for Al Ahly SC’s new stadium, “We have three naming rights offers from three multinational companies and negotiations are underway.”
 

Funding model

The funding model of the new stadium:

  • Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model;
  • Governmental support;
  • Securitisation;
  • IPO model;
  • Commercial area; and
  • Banks.

 
He stated, “We are mainly relying on securitization as the stadium funding model like selling the future rights of the under-construction stadium. For naming rights, as I had mentioned, we are already receiving offers. We are also selling the VIP Boxes in advance as well as resorting to the initial public offering (IPO) model. We have set up a company for the IPO model and right now the club is owned 100 percent by this company. But, Egyptian sports law allows only
49 percent shares of the company to be sold to investors and fans or the club members. We are working on this front. Moreover, we have received design blueprints from top five design studios of the world.”
 

(Spur) ring ideas

On a closing note, Serageldin stated that they have taken a leaf out of the book of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London (UK) as far as stadium financing model is concerned as it is “ideal”.

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