Birmingham City F.C. ‘Sports Quarter’ plans


Birmingham City stadium naming rights Image: Birmingham City

The English Football League (EFL) Championship team Birmingham City F.C. (UK) has entered into a multimillion pound, multiyear naming rights agreement with the Shelby Companies Limited, which is majority-owned by the Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company and certain other minority investors, including the seven-time Super Bowl champion and entrepreneur Tom Brady (collectively ‘Knighthead’). It is the largest commercial agreement in the club’s history.

‘Birmingham City FC’ stated that under the terms of the deal, the club’s home stadium – the St. Andrew’s Stadium in Birmingham, England (UK) – will be renamed the St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park. The club’s Wast Hills Training Ground in Alvechurch, England, will be renamed The Knighthead Training and Academy Grounds. And a new fan ‘entertainment zone’ @ Knighthead Park will be built, situated on the club-owned land close to the Tilton and Main Stand at the stadium. The renamed stadium, training ground and a new fan zone will be launched before the end of the 2023-2024 Sky Bet Championship Season.

Preston (UK)-based the English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, it is the oldest football league in the world. It was the top-level football league in England since it was formed until 1992, when the top 20 clubs split from it to form the Premier League, the highest level of the English football league system.

Preston (UK)-based the English Football League (EFL) Championship, known simply as the Championship in England and for sponsorship purposes as the Sky Bet Championship, is the highest division of the English Football League (EFL) and second-highest overall in the English football league system, after the Premier League, and is currently contested by 24 clubs.

The Birmingham City Football Club is a professional football club based in Birmingham, England (UK). Formed in 1875 as the Small Heath Alliance, it was renamed Small Heath in 1888, Birmingham in 1905 and Birmingham City in 1943. Since 2011, the first team have competed in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football.

The 29,409-capacity St Andrew’s is an association football stadium in the Bordesley district of Birmingham, England (UK). It has been the home ground of the Birmingham City Football Club for more than a century. From 2018 to 2021, it was known for sponsorship reasons as the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy.

The Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company is a Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territories)-based insurance company established to serve global clients who are seeking financial products that provide principal protection, guaranteed returns and features that include liquidity, death benefits and a choice of income options to deliver predictable future income.

Tom Brady is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 23 seasons. Brady is widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time.

The 2023-2024 EFL Championship (referred to as the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the eighth season of the EFL Championship under its current title and the 32nd season under its current league division format. The season began on August 4th, 2023 and will end on May 4th, 2024.

‘Birmingham City FC’ further stated that the value of the agreement is based on an annual sponsorship fee, a Men’s First Team performance-related bonus and a clubwide social media performance-related bonus. For the remainder of the 2023-2024 seasons, the value to the club with incentives could reach £6,241,666.67*. In 2024-2025, the first full year of the partnership, the value to Birmingham City, with incentives, could reach £9,450,000*.

Knighthead will also receive significant physical and digital branding rights across the stadium, the training grounds and all the club-owned channels. Knighthead has also committed to donate £100,000/annum, beginning at the start of the 2024-2025 seasons, to the Birmingham City Football Club Foundation.

The Knighthead Park is the first step in the club’s plan to build a ‘Sports Quarter’ in the heart of Birmingham. The ambition for the ‘Sports Quarter’ is to create a globally recognizable sporting and entertainment location. A beacon of excellence, providing the world’s greatest athletes and performers a platform to showcase their talents. Recreational, mixed-use and other spaces will be developed for the enjoyment and benefit of the local community.

The Knighthead Park will play a central role in the company’s global marketing strategy as it looks to build its brand presence and expand its business interests in the United Kingdom, the United States and across the other global markets.

In July 2023, Knighthead acquired full ownership and control of St. Andrew’s and 45.96 percent ownership of Birmingham City Limited. The investment in the club was the first part of Knighthead’s plan to play a significant role in the ongoing transformation of Birmingham’s infrastructure and skyline.

The Knighthead Park will provide consistent brand exposure to a global audience at a key time in Knighthead’s growth plans, as well as inject revenue into the club.

Shared Tom Wagner, Chairman of Knighthead and the club, “The St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park is step one in our plan to create a world-renowned ‘Sports Quarter’ in Birmingham. We invested in ‘Blues’ because of the opportunity to not only transform a football club but to also be a catalyst for change in the City itself. Our ambition is bold. It is for the club to become a beacon of excellence for Birmingham. We are at an early stage in the journey, but we have already started to capture the imagination of a global audience. It is only going to grow. That is why the timing of the multiyear naming rights partnership is perfect and why it is so important to Knighthead.”

He added, “We continue to invest heavily in the stadium and the training grounds to make them fit-for-purpose. The process will continue as we pursue the development of the broader Knighthead Park. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to enter into a partnership that will grow the brands of both Knighthead and the Birmingham City Football Club, while remaining true to our goal of achieving excellence across both enterprises.”

Remarked Garry Cook, Birmingham City Chief Executive Officer (CEO), “Birmingham is now a global story and the club is at its epicenter. A worldwide audience has tuned in to what is happening at ‘Blues’, they want to find out more, and we have only just scratched the surface of what is possible. The St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park and the ambitious plan for a ‘Sports Quarter’ will become a proxy brand for Knighthead. It will be world-class and a clear statement of intent.”

He added, “Knighthead has invested in Birmingham and is bringing a level of ambition that is going to improve the fortunes of both the club and the city itself. New thinking and approaches are required for the football clubs to grow and compete. Our partnership is an example of this. We look at the football world differently and we know that creating broader awareness and engagement across social and other media platforms will increase our commercial growth opportunities. For ‘Blues’, this means the prospect of significant investment, both on and off the pitch. This is the future and yet another massive vote of confidence from Knighthead in Birmingham and in the transformation that we are driving at the club.”

*Further information is available by clicking here.
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