Manchester United Football Club – A Global Game. A Very Global Business

By on March 27, 2013

old trafford

Professional sports teams rely heavily on commercial sponsorship to thrive as a business pleasing fans for generations to come and proving return on investment for the clubs stakeholders. English Premier League football club Manchester United is not an exception to this tradition in professional sports. Not to mention, United has a listing agreement with the New York Stock Exchange. Thus, sponsors add to the valuation of the Manchester United brand.

As one of the most notable football clubs in the world, various companies have an interest in Manchester United for corporate sponsorship. For United, sponsorship comes from countries in various regions of the world ranging from Europe to Asia and the Americas dues to the clubs global fan base and the very astute business minds working behind the scenes securing lucrative commercial sponsorship deals. Here we look at some of those sponsorship deals in places from all corners of the globe.

United Kingdom

AON is a British multinational corporation with 600 office worldwide with their headquarters in London providing risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting. Currently, AON is the primary sponsor of Manchester United in a £80 million four year deal which includes global charity initiatives promoting youth development and healthier communities. This shirt sponsorship deal finishes this season with automobile manufacturer Chevrolet taking up the reigns as the new shirt sponsor although AON will continue to be sponsors of Manchester United. According to reports, this Chevrolet deal is worth an incredible £357million between now and 2021.

United States

Chevrolet is Manchester United’s automobile partner. Currently, Chevrolet paid the team £12 million so far including branding for a section of dugout seats at Old Trafford. Beginning in 2014, Chevrolet will be the team’s shirt sponsor.

China

Wahaha, a China-based soft drink company, is one of three new United partners established in January this year. Wahaha signed a three-year contract with Manchester United for corporate partnership. To maintain global branding and increase international fan base, Manchester United chose to partner with a Chinese soft drink producer. Otherwise, a partnership with global brands, such as Pepsi or Coca Cola would have been more logical choices.

Football is a global sport. Since Manchester United understands the popularity of football in Asia, the club saw the opportunity to tap the Asian market. Therefore, United established an office in Hong Kong to keep a close eye on current and potential partners in the Asia region.

Japan

Kansai, a Japanese paint producer, is another sponsor of the three that signed a contract with United. This is not the first Japanese partner for Manchester United.

Last year in October, United signed a contract with the beverage company Kagome to establish a beverage partner in Japan.

Indonesia

Multistrada, a tire manufacturer, is one of the three that signed a three-year contract with United in January of this year.

Future Prospect

Just as Manchester United bought off BSkyB’s stake in the club’s television network MUTV, the club purchased the remaining term of its contract with DHL. As a result, it is predicted that the football club will buy out contracts in favour of new partnerships. Changing partnerships makes sound business sense and with continuing global commercial sponsorships deals across all corners of the globe, the club will remain at the top of the game and their business.

By establishing global sponsors, Manchester United expands its brand and increases fan base. Regional brand recognition ensures the club’s understanding of fan’s home regions. Global partnerships attract future investors to enhance Manchester United’s brand and according to Manchester United’s sponsor section , the football club currently has 33 sponsors. United will undoubtedly expand as a global brand and are set to become the first sports team in the world to be valued at $3 billion according to a recent report by Forbes.

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