ManU rejigs tie-ups in pursuit of global brands

Manchester United Football Club is reviewing its existing sponsors and reorganising the structure of the deals in a bid to attract more international brands.

From the 2002/03 season, Man United will cut its second tier of “platinum sponsors” from ten to eight companies. The incumbent sponsors, which include IBM, McVitie’s and Western Union, hold four-year contracts with the club that expire at the end of this season.

Man United has already secured one of its new sponsors – Budweiser, which replaces Carling (MW January 3). The contracts of the other platinum sponsors are being reviewed, but the two first-tier multi-million deals with Nike and Vodafone are unaffected.

Man United marketing director Peter Draper says that brands with a global presence such as Budweiser are the type of sponsors the club wants to bring on board. “There will be a shift from domestic brands to a more international focus,” he says.

Draper adds that the club will be targeting companies from the automobile, utilities and electronics sectors, and says each sponsorship will be individually tailored to each company. “For too long, sponsorship has been based on an ‘everybody gets the same’ approach,” he adds.

According to Deloitte & Touche’s last annual survey, Man United is the richest club in the world, with a turnover of £117m during the 1999/2000 financial year.

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