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SBD Global/April 24, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Manchester United Still Attracting Sponsors Despite Off-The-Field Struggles

This is Manchester United worst season on the pitch since 1992.
Despite ManU’s worst season since at least '92 and the subsequent sacking of Manager David Moyes, the club "still has few peers in soccer," according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. Off the field, ManU "boosted sponsorship sales" by 39% in the quarter ending Dec. 31, the most recent for which results are available. It "has bigger ticket and other match-day sales than any club in the world," according to Deloitte. Moyes "was less than a season into a six-year contract." Dave Chattaway, who helps compile an annual football club brand ranking for London-based Brand Finance Ltd., said, “It’s an unsettling time for the team but sales aren’t going to drop off a cliff. Most other teams are still playing catchup.” ManU is using what Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward calls a “scalpel, not a spade” approach to snagging sponsors from Chile to Vietnam. The English club’s profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 was £19.8M, compared with £19M in the year-earlier period. That is "about the same profit that Real Madrid and Barcelona, soccer’s biggest teams by sales, make in an entire year." London-based sponsorship consultancy firm Synergy Managing Dir Dominic Curran said, “It’s a very robust business. They’ve always been slightly ahead of the crowd. One poor season won’t affect that.” Randal Konik, a Jefferies Group analyst, said that he would keep his “buy” rating, with a $21 price target (BLOOMBERG, 4/23).
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