Personnel and Organisation ABN AMRO, UMBRO, Canal+ and Mitsubishi about more international co-operation. The contract with Active Roever Travel was extended, which leaves the total number of sponsors at a constant fourteen. Advertising income was up. This can primarily be attributed to the fact that Ajax competed in the UEFA Cup in the 1997/1998 season. Contrary to the Champions League, the UEFA Cup allows clubs to use advertising oppor tunities offered by matches themselves. Total sponsoring and advertising income was NLG 22.4 million in the financial year as compared with NLG 14.0 million in 1996/1997. Television Income from exploitation of television rights was NLG 6.4 million in 1997/1998. The so-called KNVB Professional Football Meeting made agreements about the distribution of television income for matches played within the framework of the KPN-Telecompetitie (the Dutch Premier League) and the Amstel Cup (national cup competition). This distribution according to KNVB standards will be applied until the end of the 1998/1999 season. A more performance-related distribution will be applied later. Television income for the Ajax matches played in the scope of the KPN-Telecompetitie and the Amstel Cup totalled NLG 2.4 million. In addition, television income was generated by friendly matches and matches played for the UEFA Cup. Ajax has offered thé television rights for UEFA Cup matches to broadcasting companies itself, which was effected through the current European broadcasting contract with NOS (a Dutch broadcasting company). Merchandising Merchandising includes income from: merchandising activities; exploitation of image rights of players; direct sales of merchandising to consumers; the museum. These activities have been placed in the. following group companies: Football Merchandising Promotion Zuid Oost BV (Ajax Merchandising); Tekmessa BV (Ajax Images); Eurysakes BV (Ajax Direct); Exekias BV (Ajax Museum). Moreover, merchandising includes income from licence fees originating from the sponsor contracts between AFC Ajax NV and some of its partners. Ajax Merchandising In the financial year, Ajax Merchandising focused on improving its product range. In addition, the first steps towards better product distribution were taken. Results were subject to some pressure on account of poorer sporting achievements in the 1996/1997 season. This resulted in excess stock at many sales outlets (licencees). It also proved necessary to expand the Ajax Merchandising organisation. Nevertheless, merchandising turnover, inclu ding licence fees ensuing from sponsor contracts, was satisfactory at nearly NLG 3.5 million, whereby Ajax Merchandising made a positive contribu tion to the results. Moreover, this created a solid foundation for further growth. Ajax Images From a quantitative perspective, Ajax Images has not attained the goals set. Although new projects were initiated, turnover and results fell short of expectations, one of the reasons being that the commercial exploitation of image rights of players is still relatively unknown in the Netherlands. As a result, the initial stages of this activity are characterised by high start-up costs. Although Ajax Images is a marketing and service organisation whose key objective is to generate additional income for the players, the target for the coming seasons will be to achieve a break-even result. Ajax Direct The establishment of Ajax Direct is a first step towards better distribution of the Ajax merchandising products. Ajax Direct focuses on sales of these products through the Internet and mail ordering. Mail ordering offers the opportunity to order Ajax products using a catalogue. The mail order activities were launched in May 1998 and have, therefore, only contributed to the results for the duration of two months. In addition, the initial phase of Ajax Direct was characterised by start-up costs. As a result, Ajax Direct has been unable as yet to make a positive contribution to the result. Nevertheless, the division was off to a promising start, as it realised a turn over of NLG 0.8 million over a short period. An important side-effect of Ajax Direct is that it allows for better insight into the customers profile, which may benefit Ajax in executing other activities. Ajax Museum The Ajax Museum opened its doors to the public on October 15, 1997. It welcomed more than 85,000 visitors in its first year, whereby it lived up to expectations. An image such as Ajax's warrants a suitable museum. Therefore, we opted for a luxurious design. The resulting depreciation, charges and relatively high accommodation expenses result in only a modest result despite a financial contribution by the company. Minor results are also expected in the coming years. The 1997/1998 season saw substantial investments in reinforcement of the internal organisation, both from a quantitative and a qualitative perspective. This led to an increase in workforce, particularly in the commercial and financial departments and automation department. In addition, the Customer Service department was set up. This department specialises in season-ticket sales, which was largely contracted out in thé past. The company implemented a staff appraisal system, i.e. staff are periodically expected to attend performance and appraisal interviews. In line with these interviews with staff, we drew up individual and collective training plans. Specific courses were organised for the Customer Service department. In addition, staff began taking automation courses and a number of staff are now taking commercial and financial courses. Staff commitment and motivation are a decisive factor in the company's success. The company has the possibility to grant staff options on AFC Ajax NV shares in order to promote commitment and motivation, as well to reward staff members for their efforts. A total of 204,800 options were granted in 1998. These option rights are granted unconditionally over a five-year period. AFC Ajax NV is a dual-board company, by virtue of which it is liable to institute a works council. The works council, which will be made up of seven members, will have been elected and taken up its duties on December 1, 1998. Amsterdam, November 24, 1998 Executive Board M.P. Oldenhof 9


Jaarverslagen Ajax NV (vanaf 1997) | 1997 | | pagina 85