The making of the $3BILLION super club: How Manchester United's bank balance is being boosted by beer, wine and crisps… and that's just for starters!
. The amount these companies pay for association is secret so that the Premier League leaders can keep prices competitive.
Some deals, United want people to know about though, such as the enormous shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet, announced in August last year, which will come into effect from 2014.
Sign of the times: Sir Alex Ferguson attends a Chevrolet soiree in Shanghai last summer
At the start of that season it will be worth 44m a year, increasing by 2.1 per cent annually to 2021 – totalling an incredible 357m. These numbers do not make it into United’s current take home from sponsorship but the 12m Chevrolet has paid to have its logo on the Old Trafford dugout seats this season does.
As do United’s other big deals. Aon pay United 20m a year to sponsor the shirt currently, while DHL have since 2010 forked out 10m a year to feature on the team’s training kit. That seemed a remarkable agreement at the time, but United have bought out the postal firm’s remaining contract as they believe they can generate greater income elsewhere.
It costs Nike around 25.4m to supply United’s kit each season but talks will begin next month over a new deal which should dwarf that amount.
Betting firm Bwin pay 2.4m to have outlets at Old Trafford, among other things, Singha handover 2m to have around 20,000 bottles sold at the ground each game, and Thomas Cook give 1.3m to provide United player’s travel and offer packages to fans.
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Meanwhile, Mister Potato is the official ‘snack’ partner and Smirnoff the official ‘responsible drinking’ partner. Also, the 14 separate sponsorships with telecom companies dotted around the globe show United’s interest in supplying exclusive video footage for mobiles. A pointer to this came last week, when the club bought out BSkyB’s 33 per cent share in MUTV so they have full control over distribution rights.
Fans may feel United’s name is cheapened by associating so many sponsors and we can only wonder what Sir Matt Busby would make of it all. But given the Glazer family takeover loaded the club with debt – 400m at last count in November – many financial experts now admire their relentless pursuit of commercial opportunities.
David Chattaway, valuation director at Brand Finance, which worked with United on a consultancy basis a few years ago, said there was plenty of mileage left in sponsorship deals and suggested Australia and USA would be the next markets targeted.
‘There’s talk about dilution, “How far can it go” I don’t think they’re there yet,’ he told Sportsmail. ‘Hong Kong staff take a proactive approach, targeting who has an interest in Manchester United, and calling them. It’s like they’ve got a huge matrix and they’re filling up the boxes.
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‘These little deals show the commercial acumen at Manchester United. It’s become an industry joke – a “day a deal” – but this club is motoring ahead. Brands want to be associated with them. It wouldn’t surprise me if each quarter we saw three or four news deals.
‘There probably is a tipping point. When you’re clicking through five pages of sponsors on their website the brands may start to think this is too much.
‘Juventus are at the other end. They believe there is more value in fewer partnerships. But Real Madrid and Barcelona are chasing Manchester United at the moment thinking that’s where the
‘With financial fair play, these clubs need to balance their books, they need additional revenue to pay their bills. The commercial opportunity is probably the easiest to tap into.
‘You’d be naive trying to pull together
some rationale that United really want to have a soft drink partner in
China. No, I don’t think it is that. It’s purely a commercial
VIDEO: Rooney and Co enjoy a glass of red wine…
‘Manchester United have a reputational issue, they wouldn’t want to associate with certain brands, like a Wonga, who could cause controversy. They are keen to go with big brands in these territories that they’re eyeing up for new fans, or continuing to get close to existing fans.’
Chattaway added: ‘If you look at the amount of partners they get through, it’s fair to say Manchester United aren’t building long-term relationships here. They are short, three-year windows. They take the money, manage the relationship, and are then not averse to bringing in a new partner.’
Deloitte released figures last week showing United made 117.6m in commercial revenue in 2011-12, making it a larger revenue stream than matchday receipts and broadcast money for the first time.
‘The deal they announced with Chevrolet is very, very impressive,’ Adam Bull, senior consultant at Deloitte Sports, told Sportsmail. ‘And they continue to make new deals in different countries around the world, with companies becoming regional sponsors of certain items. That’s going to help them grow their commercial revenues.
‘The strength of it is shown by the DHL deal they are now buying out because they think they can generate more. Pretty phenomenal for a training kit.’
UNITED'S SPONSORS (according to club website)
Principal sponsor of Manchester United – 20m a year
Official logistics partner of Manchester United – 10m
Official kit supplier of Manchester United – 25.4m
Official automotive partner of Manchester United – 12m
Official beer of Manchester United – 2m
Official travel partner of Manchester United – 1.3m
Official online gaming and betting partner of Manchester United – 2.4m
CASILLERO DEL DIABLO
Official wine partner of Manchester United – 2m
Official timekeeper of Manchester United – 4m
The below are all worth approximately 1m – 2m…
Official responsible drinking partner of Manchester United
TOSHIBA MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Official medical systems partner of Manchester United
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United for Saudi Arabia
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Hong Kong
Official airline partner
Official office equipment partner of Manchester United
Official savoury snack partner of Manchester United
Official global partner
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Malaysia
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United for Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Kuwait
Official integrated telecoms partner of Manchester United for South Africa / Zambia / Rwanda / Uganda / Swaziland / Botswana.
Official telecommunications partner of Manchester United in India/Sri Lanka/Seychelles/Bangladesh.
Official telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Pakistan
Official telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Bulgaria
Official noodles partner of Manchester United for Asia, Oceania and Middle East
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Bahrain
Official integrated telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Turkey
Official motorcycle partner of Manchester United in Thailand
Official telecoms partner in Burkina Faso, Chad, DR Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville
Official telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Official telecommunications and broadcast partner of Manchester United for Azerbaijan
Official soft drink partner of Manchester United for Japan
Official soft drink partner of Manchester United for China
Official tyre partner of Manchester United
Official paint partner of Manchester United