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SBD Global/March 31, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Report Claims Manchester United Won't Sell Naming Rights To Old Trafford

ManU remains adamant it "will not sell the naming rights to Old Trafford" and is not in talks with any commercial partner that would result in its ground being rebranded, according to Richard Jolly of ESPN. Rumors on social media sites suggested ManU’s "historic home could be renamed after kit manufacturers Nike in a lucrative deal that would enable them either to pay off debt or finance the signing of new players." Forbes had reported in '12 that, if the club did decide to sell the naming rights, experts believed a 20-year deal could be worth in the region of $1B, or $50M a year, to the club. However, ManU has maintained that there "is absolutely no truth" in stories that its ground will be rebranded to include a sponsor’s name and that there is no chance of it happening. Vice Chair Ed Woodward said owners the Glazer family "would not countenance selling the naming rights to the stadium." Woodward: “It's important that Old Trafford is Old Trafford. The Glazers are actually very traditional in their views. People have asked us the question, asked us if we would consider [selling the naming rights]. We won't” (ESPN, 3/30).

KIT SUPPLIER: In London, Jason Burt reported ManU "could have more than one official kit supplier once their deal with Nike runs out next year." ManU is "considering a revolutionary new approach and are talking to retailers and fashion brands as well as the usual kit suppliers." ManU is "examining how deals are structured" in the NFL -- and one suggestion has been "to offer three types of shirts to supporters depending on price." The club could sell "match jerseys" -- more expensive -- as worn by the players in addition to the standard replica shirt. The club might also "market a cheaper version of the shirt which would still be an official kit and which would be sold more widely in supermarkets, for example" (TELEGRAPH, 3/29).
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