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SBD Global/April 24, 2013/Franchises

Fresh Off 20th EPL Title, ManU Looks To Expand Further Into U.S. Market

Outgoing ManU CEO David Gill said that the EPL club, which Monday secured its 20th English football championship, is expanding its “marketing activities in the United States to cash in on interest generated by a new deal for NBC” to air league games, according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The club is “looking at adding a sales office on the east coast of the United States later this year to complement existing operations in London and Hong Kong.” Gill said, “NBC has the Premier League rights for next season. We should be able to feed off the back of that enhanced and wider coverage.” Weir noted ManU has “already attracted sponsorship from General Motors,” as its Chevy brand will take over the team’s shirt sponsorship in ’14. The club also is “negotiating a new agreement" with its kit supplier Nike. ManU was listed on the NYSE last August, and the team is “forecasting revenues” of $534-549M for the year through the end of June, up from $488M last season and “comfortably the highest in the Premier League.” Investors have “warmed to the club thanks to new sponsorship deals, a lucrative set of new TV rights agreements for the Premier League and new measures designed to curb costs in a notoriously spendthrift industry” (REUTERS, 4/23).

SILENCING THE CRITICS: The AP’s Rob Harris noted Gill believes critics of ManU Owner the Glazer family “have been mostly silenced by the team's ability to overhaul big-spending Manchester City and reclaim the English Premier League title." ManU games were “marred two years ago by protests,” but the club has seen off Man City's threat as the Glazer family "has slashed the debt that angered some fans." Gill said, “There are still a small number of dissenters and they will always be there.” However, he added, “The vast, vast majority of Manchester United fans are concerned about having a successful team playing great Manchester United attacking football" (AP, 4/23).
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