MANCHESTER UNITED’s increasing global power is driven by the commercial success of its brand according to Coventry University journalism lecturer John Mair, speaking at the Play the Game sport conference writes Neil Vassell.
Success on the field replicated itself off the field with sponsors and kit manufacturers stampeding to adorn the mighty red shirt, and Mair revealed that this is the key to the financial success of United. Last year the world club champions, Premier League champions and League Cup winners made a pre-tax profit of £66million.
The Premier League is the most popular football club competition in the world. In 2007 it brought in £1.93billion in revenue, an average of £100million per club. Manchester United receives 14% of the total revenue.
Sponsors pay vast sums to be associated with the club. Nike signed a contract to pay £23million a year to become the club’s kit manufacturer. Aon recently paid £20million to take over the shirt sponsorship from Aig – which they described as “one of the top deals within sports sponsorship” The deal offers both sides great potential: Aon will be able to promote their brand worldwide to a larger audience, whilst United will achieve greater penetration in the Asian market. The chief executive of AIG summed it up by saying: “I did not buy Manchester, I brought the far east.”
With the current trend in professional sport unlikely to change anytime soon, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. The most successful clubs will continue to get richer whilst the poor will get poorer.