Arsenal have cut ties with international media rights agency, MP & Silva, who are said to be in ‘complete disarray’ after their offices were raided.

The move comes with ‘immediate effect’ amid reports that the company is ‘struggling for its existence’ according to an industry insider.

In addition to losing Arsenal as a client, MP & Silva have also lost their contract with the Scottish Premier League over unpaid media rights and are in a legal battle with Serie A over an unpaid £34.8m payment default.

Arsenal struck their partnership agreement with MP & Silva in 2009 and renewed their agreement with them in 2014, saying at the time that the deal would run through until this season. Under that deal, MP & Silva were to “continue to distribute the club’s international programming block (The Arsenal Media Channel)” while also remaining “the club’s strategic media advisor.”

MP & Silva partnership launch. Arsenal 1:1 AC Milan. Emirates Cup, preseason. Emirates Stadium, 31/7/10. Credit: Arsenal Football Club / Stuart MacFarlane.

If you want to know more about how football rights are ‘sold’ around the world, I would recommend Ken Bensinger’s excellent book, ‘Red Card: FIFA and the fall of the most powerful men in sports’ which details the staggering corruption in the game surrounding the awarding of TV rights around the globe.

MP & Silva partnership launch. Arsenal 1:1 AC Milan. Emirates Cup, preseason. Emirates Stadium, 31/7/10. Credit: Arsenal Football Club / Stuart MacFarlane.

Arsenal will now deal directly with broadcasters themselves to “sell their media rights for the 2018/19 season, which include full match replays of every home and away league game and magazine shows.”

In a statement from the club, Arsenal also added that the move will not affect their “distribution and presence in international markets, with global fans of the club still set to have access to replays of every match along with the Arsenal World and 360 magazine shows.”

MP & Silva also distributed ‘Arsenal’s pre-season match programme and the Emirates Cup’ under a separate deal.

“We are extremely pleased to be renewing our long-term strategic media partnership with MP & Silva two years early and for an additional four-year term,” said Tom Fox, Arsenal’s chief commercial officer in 2014, one month before he left to become Aston Villa’s chief executive.

MP & Silva’s founder and president, Ricardo Silva, at the Emirates

“This partnership has already enabled us to dramatically improve the production values and global distribution of our club content to satisfy the demand of our tens of millions of fans worldwide.

“We are selective about who we partner with at Arsenal and we are proud of our association with one of the leading sports media companies in the world. We look forward to an exciting future together.”

MP & Silva also allegedly have outstanding payments owing to the Premier League and the European Handball Federation, and pending litigation with FIFA over it’s “advisory contract for rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

Raid

In April, MP & Silva’s offices in London were raided by officials from the European Commission that are investigating ‘potential sports right cartels’ which are rife in football.

If you want to know more about how football rights are ‘sold’ around the world, I would recommend Ken Bensinger’s excellent book, ‘Red Card: FIFA and the fall of the most powerful men in sports’ which details staggering corruption in the game surrounding the awarding of TV rights around the globe.