Man Utd in £302.9m Nike deal

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Manchester United have signed a massive £302.9 million sponsorship deal with sportswear firm Nike.

Manchester United have signed a massive £302.9 million sponsorship deal with sportswear firm Nike.

The five-year contract also sees the club get half Nike's net profits generated from the licensing and retail operations providing they stay in the top half of the Premiership and play in Europe.

It is comparable in size to Nike's current deal with the Brazil national team and dwarfs the £30 million four-year shirt sponsorship deal United has with Vodafone.

The deal, which starts in August 2002, makes Nike official sponsors and hands them worldwide rights to all United merchandise and global retail operations.

A statement from to the Stock Exchange read: "Manchester United plc has granted to athletic, footwear and apparel leader Nike exclusive worldwide rights as (1) the official sponsor of Manchester United footwear, apparel and equipment (2) the official kit (uniform) supplier to Manchester United (3) the manufacturer, marketer and seller of licensed apparel, footwear, equipment and other merchandise bearing the Manchester United trademarks including replica kit and (4) the operator of Manchester United's global retail operations".

United and Nike will set up a subsidiary to control the global operation, each appointing half the directors. Nike will appoint the chairman, who will have the casting vote, and the sportswear giants will also have the option to terminate the deal after six years if they should wish.

United's statement said the club intend to use the revenue for "general corporate purposes" - meaning some of the money will be available for buying players, though Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to benefit as his contract expires in the summer of 2002 and he has said he will move on.

Nike and United will also launch grass-roots football programme aimed at young players, with the £1million-a-year running costs funded by Nike.