ManU's Preseason Tour Of U.S. Providing Lucrative Boost To Club's Exposure
Though ManU Manager Louis van Gaal's "decisiveness and clarity" have been "liberating" so far, there is "unease bordering on tension in some quarters of the club after his bitter complaints about the rigours of the pre-season tour timetable" in the U.S., according to Ian Herbert of the London INDEPENDENT. Though ManU Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward will be "determined to strike a compromise with van Gaal when they speak on the subject, trips such as this are something vastly more than a publicly relations exercise." A "casual walk" around what was effectively a ManU Festival beside the Pasadena Rosebowl "revealed the captive market with money to burn on United merchandise." That's "just the start." The club's four games in the Int'l Champions Cup will net it more than £1M ($1.7M) each, while the sponsors for whom this tour "offers huge potential are paying out very big numbers for the association." One of them, Aon, will have "undertaken 25 engagements, involving 1,700 clients, by the time this tour finishes." By "this time next week" United's bright emblazoned Aon tour team bus will have "moved on to Detroit where locally based Chevrolet," which has paid a record $560M over seven years to have its name on the club's shirt, "will be getting more profile." It is thought that the company "may push United for an Asia tour next year" because that, rather than the domestic U.S. market, "is where United can win them brand awareness and what the marketeers call 'brand preference.'" Bulova, the club's "official timekeeper," would "certainly favour Asia, too." Bulova President Gregory Thumm said, "There is no doubt that growing our market in Asia is the No. 1 objective. China is a very difficult market to break into" (INDEPENDENT, 7/26).