Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year

Christmas Wishes

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wonderful festive period.

May the Christmas magic bring you good health along with unlimited blessings to you and your family.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year

Best wishes,

Shaun Ascough
Owner/Founder
VIP HOMES

CAPE TOWN direct line: +27 (0)71 605 3191
UK direct line: +44 (0)1425 688119
Email: shaun
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Posted in Soccer

Fireball proudly announces the launch of JOG MAIL (www.jogmail.co.za)

Jog Mail(tm) offers combined income and fitness opportunities for unemployed, homeless and socially excluded adults to provide a leaflet and mail drop distribution service.

Web site: http://www.jogmail.co.za

We hire extremely fit and healthy candidates who jog and post your marketing materials from door to door or business to business. This innovative approach enables us to provide a much better service in many different ways.

Very much like “The Big Issue concept”, we also believe that the most important needs of unemployed, homeless and socially excluded adults are employment and dignity. We also believe that through Jog Mail(tm), we can encourage and promote a sense of responsibility for own personal well-being and fitness.

Through Jog Mail(tm) we hope to provide our Jog Mail Men and Jog Mail Women with immediate earning opportunities and a platform to help them create their own businesses or, through the high visibility of their roles acting for Jog Mail(tm) throughout Cape Town, receive job invitations from the many varied private home owners and businesses they deliver to.

The challenges in South Africa & Africa are enormous but we hope that many brands and supporters will engage Jog Mail(tm) and partner with us to help build this social enterprise initiative.

Step by Step, Jog Mail(tm) strives to assist its Jog Mail Men and Women to move from unemployment, social marginalisation to achieving the dignity of independence and a self-sustainable future.

Follow our first Jog Mail Man “Ozz” on facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Jogmailman

Jog Mail(tm) is an initiative of The Ideas Factory of Fireball SEM.

“From the first moment we decided to ‘run’ with the idea we knew it was going to have a positive impact

and be a whole lot of fun” (The Ideas Factory, Fireball SEM)

ABOUT FIREBALL SEM – Sport Entertainment & Media Company
W: http://www.FireballSEM.com

Fireball SEM is an African Sport, Entertainment and Media Company. Soccer Division : Fireball SEM has a Soccer development business which was established to develop grassroots Soccer, the fan base and future Soccer stars in developing countries by leveraging the popularity of English & European Soccer through multi-platform properties including “Soccer’s Next Pro”.

Posted in Soccer

Sunderland AFC Names March 30 ‘Nelson Mandela Day’

Sunderland AFC is to celebrate its recent collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation by designating its forthcoming game against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light ‘Nelson Mandela Day’.

The unique partnership between both parties was launched earlier in the month to help promote the former South African President’s legacy, through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League.

Sunderland AFC will be a Legacy Advocate for the Nelson Mandela Foundation which was established in 1999.

On March 30, Sunderland’s players will sport one-off t-shirts for the pre-game warm up, bearing the foundation’s logo and a special ‘text to donate’ message in support of the foundation. Both teams will take to the field through a guard of honour of youngsters also sporting Nelson Mandela Foundation t-shirts, along with eleven specially chosen mascots. A flag bearing the foundations’ logo will also be displayed pitchside.

African musicians, the Abatimbo Drummers of Burundi, will entertain fans before the game and again at half-time showcasing the unique musical sound of Africa.

Across the next 18 months, Sunderland AFC will support a number of fundraising initiatives on behalf of the Foundation, including a Gala dinner, planned for later this year.

The players’ shirts, as worn during the game, will be auctioned online via the club’s official website, to kick off the fundraising, with all monies raised going to help the foundation continue its work.

Sunderland AFC hopes to utilise the organisations’ knowledge and expertise to continue to raise greater awareness of social issues, such as inclusion and diversity and support football’s quest to eradicate racism from within the game.

Sunderland AFC’s marketing director Mike Farnan said: “By becoming a Legacy Advocate of the Nelson Mandela Foundation we hope to accomplish even more for a common good.”

Sunderland AFC began its off the field relationship with the African continent in 2011 forging a partnership with the Invest In Africa initiative to promote awareness of the opportunities of doing business in Africa. Linking with Invest in Africa has also helped Sunderland AFC to grow its fanbase and global presence, particularly in Africa, where nearly 1.2 billion people watch Premier League matches.

ABOUT SOCCER’S NEXT PRO – Soccer Talent Search, Youth Soccer Development, Reality TV and Multi-platform property

Soccer’s Next Pro is a reality TV talent search show format that follows the process of finding 11 of a country’s top up and coming Football talent, from the thousands who turn out for the nationwide trials to the final first 11 offering them a dream trip to visit and train with a top English Premier League club. Soccer’s Next Pro is owned by Fireball SEM which is a leading African Soccer, Sport, Entertainment and Media company which owns and develops world class TV and multi-platform properties.

CONTACT: Shaun Ascough

SOUTH AFRICA TEL: 071 605 3191

(from outside of South Africa 0027 71 605 3191)

WEBSITE: www.SoccersNextPro.com

EMAIL: shaun

TAGS: Africa, South Africa, TV, Mobile, Digital, Soccer, Sports, Reality TV, TV Production, Television, Media Company, Marketing, Activation Campaigns, Brand Entertainment, Sponsorship Procurement, Ad funded productions, Soccer Academy, Soccer Development, Youth Soccer, Sports Development, Production Company, sub-Saharan Africa, TV Formats, TV Format Development, TV Format sales, Acquisitions, Cape Town, Johannesburg, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Kenya, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali, DRC, Tanzania, Mali, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Angola, Niger

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David Beckham to become Chinese Football’s first global ambassador

Former England captain David Beckham has agreed a deal with the Chinese Football Association that will see the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder become Chinese football’s first global ambassador.

As part of the new deal, the ex-LA Galaxy and Real Madrid star will visit China throughout the year to promote the sport domestically and globally, as well as popularise the country’s domestic soccer competition, the Chinese Super League.

The acquisition also aims to help the image of the country’s game, after the Chinese Super League was recently hit a match-fixing scandal – which saw China’s former top referee sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail for taking bribes to fix matches – and the highly publicized exits of ex-Chelsea and France strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

The agreement follows a ten-year partnership between media giant IMG and Chinese state television network CCTV, with the CSL to develop the country’s domestic league commercially.

Beckham, pictured above at Beyond Sport, said of the deal: ‘I am honoured to have been asked to play such an important role at this special time in Chinese football history. I’m excited by the prospect of promoting the world’s greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I’ve seen firsthand the growing interest in football there.’

‘This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I’m relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game.’

Mike Dolan, chairman and chief executive of IMG Worldwide, added: ‘This is the perfect time for an icon like David Beckham to be spearheading the effort to promote football in China. The combination of the ten-year anniversary of the CSL, the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the global appeal of David Beckham practically ensures that every young person in the country will have a new found interest in the game. We expect that David’s presence in the country will be massively important in popularising the sport.’

Source: Sport business

ABOUT SOCCER’S NEXT PRO – Soccer Talent Search, Youth Soccer Development, Reality TV and Multi-platform property
W: http://www.soccersnextpro.com

Soccer’s Next Pro is a reality TV talent search show format that follows the process of finding 11 of a country’s top up and coming Football talent, from the thousands who turn out for the nationwide trials to the final first 11 offering them a dream trip to visit and train with a top English Premier League club. Soccer’s Next Pro is owned by Fireball SEM which is a leading African Soccer, Sport, Entertainment and Media company which owns and develops world class TV and multi-platform properties.

Mailing Address: Soccer’s Next Pro, Private Bag X26, PostNet Suite 81, PostNet Steenberg Village, Tokai, 7966.

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Posted in Soccer

Sunderland in Nelson Mandela Foundation deal

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has entered into a partnership with English football club Sunderland.

Over the next 18 months, the Premier League side will support fundraising initiatives for the charity set up by the former South African president.

The match against Manchester United on 30 March will kick off the fundraising.

“We want to take his message of reconciliation and social justice as far and as wide as possible,” said club vice-chairman David Miliband.

Mr Miliband, a politician and former UK foreign secretary, said the club had been honoured to be chosen.

“It’s a great validation of the community and charitable work we do,” he told BBC Swahili TV.

Achmat Dangor, who heads the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the partnership would help spread the anti-apartheid fighter’s message to young people worldwide through the football club, Sunderland’s own charitable foundation and work in Africa.

“It will give us an outreach we haven’t got yet,” he told the BBC.

“We get many offers of partnerships but what Sunderland did was something unique and generous and unconditional, there was nothing like: ‘Can you give us something in return?'” he said.

“They’re going to help raise funds to sustain our organisation – for us to do our work we must maintain our independence and live up to Nelson Mandela’s ethos of inclusivity and reconciliation and social justice.”

Last year, Sunderland agreed a deal with not-for-profit group Invest in Africa to become the official shirt sponsor of the Black Cats.

Invest in Africa is a partnership of companies formed to promote African business opportunities.

Source: BBC News

ABOUT SOCCER’S NEXT PRO – Soccer Talent Search, Youth Soccer Development, Reality TV and Multi-platform property
W: http://www.soccersnextpro.com
Soccer’s Next Pro is a reality TV talent search show format that follows the process of finding 11 of a country’s top up and coming Football talent, from the thousands who turn out for the nationwide trials to the final first 11 offering them a dream trip to visit and train with a top English Premier League club. Soccer’s Next Pro is owned by Fireball SEM which is a leading African Soccer, Sport, Entertainment and Media company which owns and develops world class TV and multi-platform properties.

Posted in Soccer

Has the beautiful game dropped the ball?

Football is being shown the red card from fans and pundits for its on and off-pitch performance. Sponsors and clubs must offer more sophisticated engagement opportunities to score positive attention – and help the sport clean up its act.

Overpaid, overindulged and allegedly in some cases racist, football players and their teams – which stand accused of being only after fans’ cash – may have torpedoed the reputation of the beautiful game in the run-up to the Fifa World Cup in Brazil next year.

This season there have been several instances of fans in open revolt against the Premier League’s market forces, from Manchester City supporters returning tickets en masse to Arsenal in protest at the high cost of away seats, to Newcastle United fans expressing concern at the club’s new shirt sponsorship deal with payday loans company Wonga.

Newcastle City council leader Nick Forbes was among those to criticise Wonga’s £24m four-year deal, claiming it would promote “legal loan sharking” to local people facing economic hardship.

Wonga, though, says its business practices are responsible and that football sponsors promoting alcohol and gambling have not met with the same opposition. In an attempt to win over sceptical fans, after agreeing the deal last October, one of Wonga’s first acts was to rename the Newcastle stadium St James’ Park after owner Mike Ashley had controversially rebranded the ground the Sports Direct Arena the previous year.

But regardless of gripes among fans, the number of people watching the country’s most-loved sport is continuing to rise. Last season, average attendance across the Premier League was 93 per cent of capacity and figures to date suggest a similarly impressive showing this season. Viewing figures around the world are soaring too, with an estimated 4.7 billion people globally tuning in to the Premier League in 2011-2012.

Capital One, sponsor of last weekend’s League Cup final, shows what can happen when brands get fan engagement right. Having been quiet on the marketing front for several years, the US credit card company relaunched in the UK last year by signing a four-year sponsorship deal for the League Cup. In terms of raising both awareness and affection towards the brand, it has turned out to be a smart move.

According to research by monitoring agency Brandwatch, nearly 7 per cent of all online mentions about domestic cup football this season have featured the Capital One brand. This is significantly higher than mentions of FA Cup sponsor Budweiser, which has less than 0.1 per cent. “Although the FA Cup is talked about more, it seems sponsoring it provokes less discussion of the brand than the less prestigious League Cup,” says Brandwatch lead community manager Joel Windels.

The explanation for this could simply be that Budweiser’s sponsorship does not incorporate the same naming rights, so while the League Cup is referred to as the Capital One Cup, the beer brand only gets a name-check in the official title of the FA Cup with Budweiser, which is shortened in common reference to the FA Cup.

But there are also signs that football is a much greater driver of brand awareness for Capital One than it is for Budweiser – no doubt because it is a lesser-known brand in the UK. Brandwatch reports that 86 per cent of all mentions about Capital One come from talk about football compared with just 17 per cent for Budweiser; a demonstration of the huge effect that the sport has had in boosting Capital One’s profile.

The cup has allowed the credit card group to engage directly with a range of fans across the country, often at a grass-roots level. Through competitions, ticket offers and fans’ forums, the brand ran an intuitive social media campaign that tapped into supporters’ excitement towards the cup, helping it to increase its UK Facebook likes from 10,000 before its sponsorship to around 130,000 by the end of its first season. The brand is now planning an improved engagement strategy for next year.

Chief marketing officer Michael Woodburn says: “What I want to get better at is having all of our marketing channels pushing people to our social media hub so that they can interact further. We need to give them a reason to go there.”

Pitching to fans

Increasingly, football sponsors are waking up to the need for sophisticated fan engagement strategies, especially since the 2012 Olympics held up athletes – rather than footballers – as the new sporting ideal. Gone are the days when sponsors simply slap their name on a shirt – the rapid growth of social media and mobile usage means that brands can now use their association with clubs and tournaments to talk to fans across the world in the terms and formats they want to engage with.

That is why football tie-ups today come with promises of ‘interactive activations’ and ‘richer fan experiences’. Since Chevrolet’s reported £360m shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United, for example, the brand has focused activity around its #DrivenBy hashtag on Twitter to capitalise on the rising popularity of live tweeting by fans during matches. HTC, meanwhile, is pledging to deliver “new and innovative ways for fans around the world to get closer to the action” as the new phone supplier of the Champions League and Europa League.

Indeed, sponsorship revenue is growing, with the combined shirt sponsorship income of all Premier League clubs up by almost 20 per cent in 2011-12 from £100.5m to £117.5m, according to Sporting Intelligence. At the same time, income-generating opportunities are expanding as clubs use new rights categories and brand touchpoints to engage sponsors in different global regions.

Although its status as the world’s biggest club distorts the picture somewhat, it is noteworthy that Manchester United has nearly 40 sponsors globally including an official wine partner (Casillero del Diablo) and an official noodles partner in Asia, Oceania and the Middle East (Mamee).

But while sponsors continue to pour cash into the global phenomenon that is English football, it is not clear that all brands are making the most of their investment. The huge amount of brand messages aimed at football supporters, combined with the rapid diversification of their media consumption, means that more sponsors are reappraising how best to engage with fans.

Cup campaigns

The sponsorship campaigns behind the FA Cup and League Cup this season provide an interesting insight into the different approaches available to brands. Budweiser’s sponsorship of the FA Cup began last season, giving it a year’s head-start on Capital One to hone its fan engagement strategies through social media and other technology.

For example, Budweiser made broadcasting history by streaming an extra preliminary FA Cup tie between Ascot United and Wembley FC live via Facebook in 2011. The move was designed to drive fan and media engagement for a match that would normally have gone unnoticed nationally, thereby increasing exposure to and interaction with the Budweiser brand.

“Traditionally, the extra preliminary round receives little interest, however this campaign was covered by international media while delivering on all key objectives of our sponsorship strategy,” says Iain Newell, UK marketing director of parent company AB InBev. “Over 30,000 international viewers tuned into watch the game online.”

This year, Budweiser plans to use crowd-sourced assets in its FA Cup marketing by asking fans to contribute photography from any match in the tournament for inclusion in a two-minute advert that will air in the last break before the final on 11 May, as well as on the big screens and perimeter boards at Wembley.

The initiative will run via Twitter and Instagram, with fans uploading photos and tagging them to Budweiser’s #tothedream hashtag. Newell says one of Budweiser’s core concerns is to “bring the cup closer to fans through a strategy that celebrates grass-roots football and showcases the tournament on a global level”.

The brand’s other football-related innovations include the Budweiser Man of the Match app that allows fans to pick the outstanding player from any FA Cup match (a role traditionally performed by TV punditry teams) and a partnership with augmented reality platform Aurasma, where fans can point their smartphone or tablet device at limited edition Budweiser beer cans to see the FA Cup appear in 3D.

Similarly, Capital One has used social media to interact with fans interested in the League Cup, though Woodburn says the brand’s first year as title sponsor has been a learning experience in which it has paid close attention to the online chatter generated by supporters. “People have started coming to our [Facebook] page to talk about the football matches, which is great,” he says. “We just want to be part of that conversation for now rather than pushing brand messages at people.”

The brand has upped its activity on social media during popular matches, such as Arsenal’s dramatic 7-5 victory over Reading in October and Bradford City’s giant-killing run to the final. By listening to fans online, Capital One has also succeeded in identifying a number of PR opportunities that have served to increase goodwill towards the brand.

For example, the company paid for Middlesbrough fans to travel to Swansea last December for their cup match because the team had been drawn away from home 12 consecutive times in the tournament. “It’s that type of engagement that really resonates with fans and it’s something we’ll look to build on during our second season,” comments Woodburn.

Football crowd-sourcing

The ability of sponsors to grow their following through fan engagement is a cause for optimism among the football clubs, many of whom wish to build their own brands as a way of increasing revenues. The Football League is aiming to help its 72 member clubs better understand their fans with its new Changing Room research panel. Launched last month, the initiative encourages fans to participate through postings on all the club websites, right down to the small provincial sides in League Two. The Football League plans to recruit 15,000 fans to the panel, with each club represented.

In addition to engaging members with football content, forums and rewards, the Changing Room will conduct targeted surveys that aim to provide clubs and sponsors with deeper insights into fans’ behaviour. Football League research and insight executive Phil McKee reveals that the Changing Room could also form a testing ground for sponsors, allowing brands to trial the creative in their football-related marketing campaigns before rolling them out.

“The beauty of it is we can survey everyone in the group or we can do more targeted research,” he says. “For example, if Exeter City wanted to ask their fans something quickly, we can just ringfence those people, or if a brand wanted to speak to a certain demographic, we could do that. If we know more about our supporters, we can tailor to their needs better.”

Beyond the online world, clubs are also engaging with fans through new technology at their stadia. Derby County has been one of the most innovative clubs in the Football League this season, having undertaken a major upgrade of technology at its Pride Park stadium while also rolling out a new demand-based pricing system for its match tickets (see case study).

Last summer, Derby bought new hardware for the stadium, including LED perimeter advertising, a 77 sq m screen – one of the largest in club football, digital menu boards for the concourses and an improved internal camera system. Although this technology has given Derby greater flexibility in the advertising solutions it can offer to brands and sponsors, it has also increased the club’s ability to engage directly with its supporters on match day.

For example, the upgraded camera system can zoom in on fans in the ground for various engagement segments, with the jumbo screen serving as a giant ‘fan cam’. The club also opens the stadium doors early on match days, allowing fans to watch televised lunchtime matches on the big screen prior to kick-off or exclusive content produced by the club.

Marketing manager Faye Nixon says these engagement efforts are designed to offer fans and their families a day out rather than just a football match. She claims this approach is already bearing fruit this season, with more fans arriving earlier to the stadium and spending more on refreshments.

“Everybody in the leisure industry is vying for people’s disposable income so we’ve got to make it more than just an hour and a half of football, we’ve got to make it an entertainment experience as well,” she says. “That includes the pre-game, half-time and post-game experience.”

Community engagement

Football clubs provide a focal point for communities across the UK, so fan engagement often also means working closely with those communities to improve people’s lives. Sunderland Football Club achieves this through the Foundation of Light, a charity set up in 2001 by former chairman Sir Bob Murray that has become central to the club’s identity.

Sunderland says the foundation is the largest in European football, with 120 staff that help more than 40,000 children in the region. The foundation’s size means that Sunderland can go beyond the grass-roots football work that other clubs might focus on to tackle deep-rooted social problems as well.

Sunderland FC works closely with communities through its Foundation of Light charity set up in 2001

For example, the foundation runs educational programmes from specially designed classrooms within Sunderland’s home ground, the Stadium of Light, for children that have a history of troubled behaviour at school.

In addition to support from the club, the foundation is backed by major local employers such as machinery manufacturer Caterpillar.

Sunderland marketing director Mike Farnan says the foundation has played a pivotal role in forging a close-knit community with the club at its heart. This sense of community translates into strong support for the club: last season, Sunderland had the seventh highest home attendance in the Premier League.

“With 44,000 children and 120 employees, you’re talking about a lot of people depending on it,” says Farnan. “It’s something unique and different, simply because the region needs it. I think the club has been very sensitive to that requirement.”

While the foundation is a philanthropic rather than a commercial operation, its work has attracted the interest of sponsors keen to harness its community ethos. In particular, the foundation was an important element in Sunderland’s shirt sponsorship agreement with Invest in Africa last summer.

The deal, reportedly the most lucrative sponsorship in Sunderland’s history, arose after Tullow Oil founder Aidan Heavey read about the Foundation of Light and believed he could adapt some of its work to Invest in Africa, his not-for-profit development agency on the continent.

Sunderland is now pursuing its own charitable initiatives in Africa through the sponsorship, although the deal has also presented the club with a huge range of sporting and commercial opportunities. This includes forming partnerships with African clubs that are helping Sunderland to build up its fanbase on the continent and forge more brand tie-ups. Farnan says it is likely that “an African consumer-facing brand” will appear on Sunderland’s shirts next season as part of the Invest in Africa deal.

“Sunderland isn’t a Man United or a Liverpool but by aligning itself with this programme it’s galvanised itself in Africa,” says Farnan. “If you look at the interest we’re getting in Africa, right across from federations, football clubs and commerce, it’s just been unbelievable.”

Sunderland is a good example of the popularity of English football globally when clubs get fan engagement right. As more brands look to harness the power of the sport around the world – and football itself works to clean up its image – they must pay attention to how supporters watch and interact with their favourite clubs and tailor their engagement strategies accordingly.

Source: Marketing Week

ABOUT SOCCER’S NEXT PRO – Soccer Talent Search, Youth Soccer Development, Reality TV and Multi-platform property
W: http://www.soccersnextpro.com

Soccer’s Next Pro is a reality TV talent search show format that follows the process of finding 11 of a country’s top up and coming Football talent, from the thousands who turn out for the nationwide trials to the final first 11 offering them a dream trip to visit and train with a top English Premier League club. Soccer’s Next Pro is owned by Fireball SEM which is a leading African Soccer, Sport, Entertainment and Media company which owns and develops world class TV and multi-platform properties.

Posted in Soccer

English Premier League clubs losing millions in Home Game revenue

English Premier League clubs are losing out on valuable home game revenue by failing to maximise match day sales – according to a report from the sports and sponsorship insight team of the BDRC Continental agency.

The report analyses attendances and match day prices this season, with certain clubs not only missing out on ticket sales but also cross-selling opportunities from food, beverages and programmes.

Aston Villa topped the list with around £366,261 lost every match – resulting in overall missed revenue per season of just under £7 million.

Sunderland followed close behind after losing out on over £6.5 million per season – £344,331 each game.

Wigan Athletic came in third with an average of £220,933 lost each game, amounting to a total of just over £4 million for the season.

“Since the Premier League announced its new financial controls, top-flight teams need to address how they can turn this lost opportunity into valuable income,” said director of sports and sponsorship at BDRC Continental, Mark Long. “Under the new regime kicking off with the 2013-14 season, any increase in match day revenue can help fund players, so empty seats in the ground will have a direct impact on the quality of a club’s squad on the pitch.”

Long added: “It’s not just about slashing ticket prices to get supporters into the stadium; there is a balance to be achieved between attracting new fans and keeping loyal season ticket holders happy. And don’t forget the need to maximise on-site sales in the various retail outlets once fans are through the turnstiles. No two clubs are the same, so it’s never a ‘one size fits all’ solution. But through careful research and data analysis clubs can still move forward and optimise their fan base to fill seats and impact the bottom line.”

Source: Sportbusiness

ABOUT FIREBALL SEM – Sport Entertainment & Media Company
W: http://www.FireballSEM.com

Fireball SEM is an African Sport, Entertainment and Media Company. Soccer Division : Fireball SEM has a Soccer development business which was established to develop grassroots Soccer, the fan base and future Soccer stars in developing countries by leveraging the popularity of English & European Soccer through multi-platform properties including “Soccer’s Next Pro”.

Posted in Soccer

MAN UTD breaks $3 billion valuation barrier

Manchester United has become the first sports team in the world to be granted a US$3 billion valuation by Forbes.

The business and financial news publication said it has given the English Premier League giant a revised valuation following the upturn in the performance of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). United’s much-hyped initial public offering (IPO) had made a disappointing debut on the NYSE in August with shares failing to rise beyond their base pricing of $14. Heading into the first day of trading United had reduced the pricing of its IPO to $14 after initially stating it would offer 16.7 million shares between $16 and $20, a pricing that would have given the club a top-range valuation of $3.3 billion.

The IPO saw United’s owners, the Glazer family, sell 10% of their shares in the club. United’s share price on the NYSE stood at $16.48 for a market capitalisation of $2.7 billion at close of trading on Monday. Forbes said the rise of the stock price has pushed up United’s enterprise value, which represents equity plus debt, to $3.3 billion. By contrast, the second most valuable sports team in the world, the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys, are some way behind on $2.1 billion. United’s commercial growth appears to be driving the share price up, with the club announcing several new sponsorship deals this season, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, and set to reap the rewards of the huge new Premier League television deals that come into effect from the 2013-14 season.

Forbes last published its complete study of sports team valuations in July, with United standing top with $2.23 billion. With Real Madrid occupying second position, football locked out the top-two positions in the top-10, with the sport boasting four teams in the upper reaches of the list, along with the National Football League (NFL). Major League Baseball (MLB) placed two teams inside the top-10. Spanish Primera Division champion Real was valued at $1.88 billion. Real’s great rival FC Barcelona placed eighth with a valuation of $1.31 billion, while Premier League club Arsenal took 10th spot with $1.29 billion.

Source: Sportsbusiness

ABOUT SOCCER’S NEXT PRO – Soccer Talent Search, Youth Soccer Development, Reality TV and Multi-platform property
W: http://www.soccersnextpro.com

Soccer’s Next Pro is a reality TV talent search show format that follows the process of finding 11 of a country’s top up and coming Football talent, from the thousands who turn out for the nationwide trials to the final first 11 offering them a dream trip to visit and train with a top English Premier League club. Soccer’s Next Pro is owned by Fireball SEM which is a leading African Soccer, Sport, Entertainment and Media company which owns and develops world class TV and multi-platform properties.

Posted in Soccer

David Beckham active in his role as Ambassador to the MLS

Former Manchester United star David Beckham has reportedly been tasked with luring the likes of Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Michael Carrick and Peter Crouch to the United States’ Major League Soccer (MLS).

The Sunday People reports these four stars are in high demand among MLS clubs and Beckham will be asked to persuade his former England team-mates to finish their playing careers in the United States.

The report adds top Premier League players, like Gerrard, will earn between £4m and £5m a year and an MLS source believes a transfer could be an ideal opportunity for English football’s ageing stars.

“With the wages, lifestyle, and anonymity the world’s top soccer players have playing in the MLS, it makes it an ideal destination for them to finish their careers,” the spokesperson said.

Beckham himself is still searching for a new club, after running down his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy late in 2012. The ex-Real Madrid star may be 37 years old but he is still a big draw for several clubs around the world. Beckham is expected to announce his plans sometime in February. His role as ambassador for the MLS will begin after that.

However, this is likely to be a difficult argument for Becks to pitch. The Liverpool captain Gerrard has committed himself to the Anfield club and has turned down far more lucrative and glamorous offers, including approaches from Spanish champions Real Madrid, to remain with his boyhood club. And while the 32-year-old midfielder is not the player he was a few years ago, he remains one of the very best in the world and is unlikely to favour a switch to the US.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole has just signed a one-year extension with the Blues and, like Gerrard, with clubs like Ligue 1’s Paris St Germain (PSG) interested in his services, a shift to the MLS would appear to be a long way off.

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is similarly placed – he is a key member of the Red Devils’ first team and The Sun reports he is set to sign an extension to his £80,000 per week contract at Old Trafford.

Ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch is perhaps the most realistic target for the MLS. The 31-year-old ex-England international is currently with Stoke City but has not had a particularly brilliant season, with only four goals from 20 league appearances so far.

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AFCON 2013: Nigerian Football Administrators Say Super Eagles Have No More Excuses Left

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) made it clear on Monday that it does not expect anything less than an outright win by the Nigerian Super Eagles when they face the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia in the final Group C match of the 29th Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

Draws in two games so far have now rendered Tuesday’s encounter a must-win for Nigeria and the NFF says there is no excuse for the players and technical crew not to do Nigeria proud at the tournament.

Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama, said: “This team has received tremendous support from the Government of Nigeria, the football federation and the good and passionate people of our country. There is nothing the players or the Head Coach and his crew have requested for that we have failed to provide.”

“After qualifying for this championship, the team has played a number of friendly matches and everything that is needed to motivate players and officials have been provided for them. All that is left now is for the team to go all out and show a high level of commitment and patriotic fervour in getting the job done.”

The NFF organized top-class friendly matches for the Super Eagles in the run-up to this tournament, with the team playing against Venezuela in the United States of America, Catalonia in Barcelona and Cape Verde (one of the first teams to reach the quarter finals here) in Portugal. They also played against Dutch team FC Rotterdam and Portuguese club Farense during a 20-day final training camp in Faro, Portugal.

Before the kick-off of the championship and despite limited financial power, the NFF ensured payment of salaries of all members of the technical crew till the end of this month.

Chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Barrister Chris Green, also agreed that there is no excuse for the team not to work hard and do like-never-before to give back lost honour to Nigeria on Tuesday.

“There is no reason whatsoever for the team to fail. The NFF has done its part, done almost everything required of the federation to train a team for this competition and motivate that team.”

“The draws against Burkina Faso, and Zambia were uncalled for, but those matches are behind us and we have a huge opportunity to put things right against the Ethiopians.”

The Super Eagles have savoured the beautiful environment of their Hunters’ Rest home since arriving in Rustenburg on Sunday afternoon, ahead of the testy duel with the fast-paced, tireless Antelopes of Ethiopia.

But Barrister Green says: “We have to be very careful against the Ethiopians. They run hard and forever and do the short-passing game brilliantly. But with the personnel that we have here, we should be able to contain them and get the goals we need to reach the quarter finals.”

Skipper Joseph Yobo has recovered from injury he sustained in the first game against Burkina Faso and could come into the fray on Tuesday, with youngster Kenneth Omeruo sure to fill in at right back, earlier occupied by midfielder Ogenyi Onazi against the Zambians last Friday.

NFF General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu said on Monday: “The Super Eagles should just go into Tuesday’s game and show why they are super. Nigerians have lost patience. We have had enough of draws, and it is time to start winning.”

Cup holders Zambia will take on Burkina Faso’s Etalons at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium simultaneously on Tuesday. Depending on results of Tuesday’s matches, the Super Eagles will either stay in Rustenburg on their way home or return to Mbombela for Sunday’s quarter finals.

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