Arsenal's emirates stadium

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The £470 million cost of the project, augmented by the extra costs the club had to meet besides building the stadium itself, was a formidable obstacle, especially as Arsenal were not granted any public subsidy. Arsenal had difficulty obtaining finance for the project, and work ceased just after it had begun, before restarting when a £260m loan package was obtained from a consortium of banks, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland.[40]

In August 2005 Arsenal announced plans to replace most of the bank debt with bonds. The proposed bond issue went ahead on 13 July 2006. The club issued £210 million worth of 13.5 year bonds with a spread of 52 basis points over UK government bonds and £50 million of 7.1 year bonds with a spread of 22 basis points over LIBOR. It was the first publicly marketed, asset-backed bond issue by a European football club.[41] The effective interest rate on these bonds is 5.14% and 5.97% respectively, and they are due to be paid back over a 25 year period; the move to bonds has reduced the club's annual debt service cost to approximately £20 million a year.[2] On 31 May 2007 the club's net debt stood at £262.1 million.[2]

However at the same time there are multiple sources of income for the club; the remainder of the Lough Road site is being used for new housing, as are the surplus areas around the stadium at Ashburton Grove. Highbury is currently being converted into apartments, most of which have been sold. In total, more than 2,000 homes will be built at the three sites, and the club is counting on the profit from these developments to make a major contribution towards the costs of the new stadium. Other sources of revenue include the £100m from Emirates for the naming rights, to be paid over the course of the deal[11] and a £15m contribution towards the capital costs of the stadium's catering facilities from catering firm Delaware North, which has a 20-year exclusive contract to run the stadium's catering operation.[42]

Finally, there is the increased revenue from the stadium itself. In 2005, Arsenal's then chief executive Keith Edelman commented that the new stadium is expected to increase Arsenal's turnover from typically £115 million to around £170 million.[43] Final accounts for the year ending May 2007, Arsenal's first season at the Emirates, show that Arsenal's turnover has increased to £200.8m, compared to £137.2m the previous year and that group operating profits increased to £51.2m.[2] Even once debt repayments are taken into account, the club's turnover has increased by at least £20m a year,[44] (in 2006-07 the club recorded a surplus of £37 million).[2]

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