The basis of the merchandising activities is the exclusive right of Ajax to use the name, the logo and the other Ajax symbols and products. In the Benelux and in many other countries in the world, this right is reserved exclusively for Ajax, among other things by registration of the Ajax brand and protection by local legislation regarding intellectual ownership (copyright and protection against unlawful competition). The extent to which name, logo and other symbols can be exploited on an exclusive basis depends on the level of protection which can be obtained in the various countries. Until January 1, 1997, the merchandising activities were mostly contracted out to the company Fan Promotions. This company held a licence to exploit the Ajax name and the Ajax logo, and granted so-called sub-licences to producers and distributors of merchandise articles. Ajax received a percentage (royalty) of the revenues. As of January 1, 1997, the merchandising activities have been brought under a group company of the Company (Ajax Merchandising). Since then, the merchandising activities mainly consist of granting, on a royalty basis, licences to producers of merchandise articles. Furthermore, the purchasing and sales of certain merchandise articles have been brought under the control of the Company. Ajax has entered into an agreement with its clothing sponsor Umbro which gives Umbro the exclusive right to globally produce and distribute sports clothing, sports articles and various other articles of clothing carrying the Ajax name and the Ajax logo. This right was granted in exchange for a certain royalty to be paid by Umbro per article sold. In combination with the merchandising already described Ajax is developing the following activities. So-called shop-in-shops are being set up and the number of fan shops is increased. Shop- in-shops are clearly distinguishable areas (in existing shops) which only sell Ajax articles. The Company is negotiating with various store chains to achieve a national spread. Furthermore, in addition to the fan shop in the ArenA, at least one more Ajax shop will be opened in Amsterdam. Since 1997, Ajax has been operating a Dutch Internet site, and an international site has recently been introduced. On these sites, Ajax offers a number of merchandising products. Furthermore, Ajax has started a mail order company in 1998, which offers Ajax products that can be ordered through a catalogue. The Company is currently studying possible co-operation with international distribution partners. This makes it possible to approach existing and new sales areas more cheaply and in a more focused way. Furthermore, the Company is looking to gain full control over the purchasing of its fast-moving products, thereby complying with current contractual obligations. This mainly concerns the 'real fan' merchandise articles such as scarves and flags. Other group companies/participations Ajax Images Ajax Images is a 100% subsidiary of the Company. It is a marketing and service organisation whose main aim is to generate extra income for the players by exploiting their advertising value further and in a more organised way. To realise this, Ajax Images enters into contracts with Ajax players, which enables Ajax Images to exploit so-called portrait rights and to develop the following activities: linking individual players to brands for advertising purposes; using individual players at promotional activities of various companies; further development of player-related merchandising. These activities will be stimulated by the active approach of advertising agencies and advertisers, the initiation of merchandising and advertising in the country of origin of foreign players, and the close co-operation with Ajax Merchandising, aimed at specific merchandising of individual players.


Jaarverslagen Ajax NV (vanaf 1997) | 1998 | | pagina 27