Tourism boost: Rwanda extends partnership deal with Arsenal FC, bets on Messi for numbers

Lionel Messi during his first training session at the Ooredoo Training Centre where he trained with PSG team-mates for the first time after his transfer from Barcelona. PHOTO | courtesy of psg online

In furtherance of its campaign to boost tourism through partnerships with European football clubs, the government of Rwanda has paid an undisclosed amount as fee to extend its sponsorship deal with Arsenal FC.

The deal, estimated to be upwards of $100 million, according to a source privy to the negotiations, will run up to 2023 after the first three years of the partnership expired in May, The EastAfrican has reported.

There is, however, potential to extend the deal up to 2025 at no extra cost as Rwanda seeks to convince Arsenal that the deal bore no fruit last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted tourism and football activities.

“Rwanda did not gain much from its deal with Arsenal because of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials are now negotiating with Arsenal to see if the deal can be extended further under the same terms.

‘‘The negotiations are advanced so expect an announcement soon,” a source told The EastAfrican.

The Arsenal deal extension is coming at a most opportune time for Rwanda which also sponsors French club Paris Saint Germain (PSG), since 2019. The recent move of Argentinian football icon Leonel Messi to PSG from Barcelona, has therefore granted Rwanda a jackpot win to leverage it’s tourism.

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