AFC Ajax NV (AFC Ajax, Ajax) is the most successful football club in the
Netherlands and is one of the most successful football clubs in Europe.
Ajax won the Dutch championship twenty-seven times, the European Cup
for National Champions (European Cup I; currently the Champions
League) four times, the European Cup Winners Cup and the UEFA Cup
both ones and the World Cup for club teams twice.
Ajax' activities can be divided into football and football-related activities.
Ajax' football activities consist of the playing of professional football, the
youth training programme, the playing of amateur football, the scouting
system, player management and supporters management.
The first team plays professional football in the KPN-Telecompetitie (the
Dutch Premier League), in the national cup competition and in the inter
national cup competitions and plays friendly matches. The first team plays
its home matches in the Amsterdam ArenA, a stadium with a capacity of
over 50,000 seats.
The second team plays in the reserve teams competition and acts as a
springboard for young talents to the top.
The main pillar of Ajax' successes and reputation is the youth training
programme. The youth training programme takes place at the modern
sports park De Toekomst The quality of the youth training programme
is important for the flow of young talent to Ajax' first team squad, for
the number of players which have to be bought from other clubs and the
level of costs this involves and for the transfer income result to be realised
Ajax has four amateur teams, playing in the Saturday league organised by
the Dutch Football Association (KNVB). These are recreational teams,
which are not part of the training programme of the first team of Ajax.
As well as the youth training programme, the scouting system is of great
importance to the successes of Ajax.0 Ajax has an extensive network of
scouts to do its scouting work. These scouts assess young players according
to the criteria which are also used in the youth training programme, i.e.
technique, intelligence, personality and speed (TIPS), and keep records of
players for the various field positions and of different age groups.
Ajax aims to have a squad where two players are available for each position
in the field, with an extra added player for each line (defence, midfield
With regard to supporter management, Ajax aims to meet the justified
expectations, wishes and demands of the supporters, to increase the number
of supporters and to guarantee the safety of the supporters.
I he football-related activities are exclusively carried out in support of the
football activities. The football-related activities comprise generating
income from sponsoring and advertising, exploitation of television rights
Ajax currently has 14 sponsors, including a shirt sponsor and a clothing
sponsor. Advertising income is generated from the advertising boards on
and around the pitch, advertising on the big screens in the Amsterdam
ArenA and advertisements in Ajax publications. Ajax' policy is aimed
at extensive co-operation with a number of partners, who fully integrate
their sponsorship, preferably in an international context, into their
communication strategy. This creates a maximum contribution to the
global exploitation of the name and logo of Ajax.
Income from television rights is primarily generated by the contract
between the KNVB, acting on behalf of the football clubs, and NOS and
SBS 6 (two Dutch broadcasting companies) for the broadcasting of
summaries of matches from the Dutch Premier League and matches from
the national cup competition (Amstel Cup) respectively. In addition, there
is the 'memorandum of understanding' with Canal+ for live and integral
broadcasts of matches from the Dutch Premier League.
The television rights for the Champions League are collectively exploited by
UEFA. The television rights for the matches in the European Cup Winners
Cup and the UEFA Cup are sold by Ajax itself.
Ajax' merchandising activities consist of the granting of licences on a royalty
basis for the production and distribution of sports articles and non-sports
articles, all with the Ajax trade mark (as Ajax name, logo and shirt), the
purchasing and selling of certain Ajax articles under the control of the
company and the direct distribution to the end user of non-sports articles
with the Ajax trade mark, as well as exploitation of image rights of players
and running of the Ajax museum. The direct supply of non-sports articles
is done through the Internet and mail order.
The museum shows the history of Ajax. In addition to relics, memorabilia,
documents, personal belongings of (former) players and photographs, the
museum also has a room in which the most important trophies are displayed
and where Ajax' successes are portrayed in an audio-visual presentation.
The Ajax strategy is aimed at keeping the club at the top of Dutch
professional football, and also at the top of European professional football.
In order to realise this Ajax aims at combining young talents with interna
tionally experienced players in its first team selection. A continuous stream
of young talents trained by the club should minimises the need for the
buying of players from outside the club.
Within this framework, Ajax has set itself the target of expanding both its
youth training programme and its scouting system internationally.
This especially involves building a global network of scouts and setting
up training centres throughout the world.
As well as the strategies with regard to the football activities, Ajax aims to
play a leading role in the ongoing commercialisation and globalisation of
professional football by fully exploiting the football-related activities as
well as playing football, of high quality. Exploiting these activities cannot
be a goal in its own right, but should always support the football activities.
With respect to sponsoring, the aim of the company is to strengthen the
relationships with its sponsors, in order to create the possibility for both
the sponsor and the company to make optimum use of the exploitation of
the Ajax brand.
The strategy with regard to the exploitation of television rights is aimed at
the company carrying out these negotiations. Furthermore the develop
ments relating to new media concepts, such as 'pay-per-view' and 'video-
on-demand', will be monitored continuously.
The merchandising strategy is aimed at the increasing income by both
raising turnover and improving margins. The most important focal points
hereby are expanding Ajax' distribution network and broadening the range
of Ajax articles.