SBD/September 23, 2011/Franchises

Manchester United Breaks £100M Mark For First Time In Club History

ManU says it's "only just started" expanding its brand and increasing revenues
EPL club Manchester United has "crashed through the £100 million mark for the first time," according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. A little more than six years after taking over the club, the Glazer family broke the mark, with "accounts for the year to June 30 revealing commercial revenues of £103.4 million." Some ManU supporters have been "aggrieved at the levels of debt with which the owners have saddled the club, but even their staunchest critics are reluctantly coming to acknowledge the remarkable job the family has done in harnessing the United brand globally." Still, the club believes that it has "barely scratched the surface commercially." ManU Commercial Dir Richard Arnold "did not blink when the idea of revenues increasing at the same annual growth rate over the next six years was put to him" earlier in the week. Arnold said, "We've really only just started. There is a lot more to come. United has huge, future potential." Before Arnold was hired in November '07, ManU's "commercial department effectively consisted of two people working out of Manchester; now there is a team of 45 located in a luxurious, 11,500 sq ft office in" the Mayfair neighborhood of London. In four years, the Glazers have "invested more than £40 million devising and executing a commercial strategy that has yielded a tenfold return, with more than £400 million generated from in excess of 100 commercial products." The club is expected to open an office in Hong Kong next year, and "as the business grows, more bases are likely to crop up around the world." ManU has "commercial partnerships with more than 45 countries in Asia and Africa alone" (LONDON TIMES, 9/23).

LIVERPOOL BY WAY OF BOSTON: Liverpool and Fenway Sports Chair Tom Werner, in a Q&A with EPLTALK.com's Alexander Fairchild, said the EPL club is "looking for a naming rights partner in the event that we build a new stadium at Stanley Park. At the same time, we are also examining a renovation of Anfield, but there are lots of complications if we go in that direction. Emotionally, I think our fans would like to see Anfield expanded, but in the end our interests lie in creating additional capacity one way or the other." When asked if Liverpool will head to the U.S. in the near future to play at Fenway Park, Werner said, "We have not yet made any final decisions about our plans next summer but we are hopeful that Liverpool will play at Fenway Park." When asked if the"plans to upgrade Fenway Park will be suspended due to a lack of funding caused by the large amount of money spent" at Liverpool since FSG took over, Werner said, "We look at both LFC and the Red Sox as stand alone businesses managed by terrific professionals at each club. Nothing at the Red Sox is determined by money spent at LFC and vice versa" (EPLTALK.com, 9/22).
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