Birmingham City confirmed that it has entered a major multi-year naming rights agreement with Shelby Companies Limited, which is mainly owned by Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company.
As a result of this deal, the club’s stadium will now be called “St Andrews @ Knighthead Park”, the Club’s Wast Hills training ground will be renamed The Knighthead Training and Academy Grounds and a new fan ‘entertainment zone’ @ Knighthead Park, will be built on club-owned land nearby.
Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company (“Knighthead Annuity”) is an insurance and reinsurance company established in 2014 to serve global clients seeking financial products that provide both principal protection and guaranteed rates, as well as reinsure similar liabilities for U.S. insurance companies.
Tom Wagner is the Chairman of both the club and Knighthead and has helped to finance this deal with a long-term commitment in mind. Knighthead took over the Blues in mid-July when the club was in financial crisis and Wagner has promised that there is a slow process in place to bring the club back on its feet, with this deal being the first big step.
The value of the agreement is based on an annual sponsorship fee, a Men’s First Team performance-related bonus and a Club wide social media performance-related bonus. For the remainder of the 2023/24 season, the value to the Club with incentives could reach £6,241,666 ($12,021,211 AUD). In 2024/25, the first full year of the partnership, the value to Birmingham City, with incentives, could reach £9,450,000 ($18,200,339 AUD)
Knighthead will receive physical and digital branding rights across the stadium, training grounds and all club-owned channels. Knighthead has also committed to donate from the start of the 2024/25 season, to the Birmingham City Football Club Foundation.
Knighthead Park will provide consistent brand exposure to a global audience at a key time in Knighthead’s growth plans, as well as inject important revenue into Birmingham City FC.
Tom Wagner explained the overall plan he has for the club.
“St. Andrew’s @ Knighthead Park is step one in our plan to create a world-renowned ‘Sports Quarter’ in Birmingham,” he said via media release.
“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 multi-year naming rights partnership is perfect and why it is so important to Knighthead.
“We continue to invest heavily in the Stadium and 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 BCFC, while remaining true to our goal of achieving excellence across both enterprises.”
Birmingham City Chief Executive Officer Garry Cook expressed his excitement at what this means for the club’s future.
“Birmingham is now a global story, and the Club is at its epicentre,” he added via press release.
“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.
“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.”
“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 football clubs to grow and compete. Our partnership is an example of this,”
The value of this partnership for both parties is not to be understated and the very positive reaction by fans is a key indicator. There is a clear plan in place to improve Birmingham’s financial situation eventually to then build better facilities and improve the squad with a long-term goal of going back to the top flight.