Manchester United kit deal: Umbro hold talks to wrestle back rights from Nike
Umbro has been revived rapidly since it was sold by Nike
Umbro, the Manchester-based sportswear firm which provided the strips in which Manchester United won 18 trophies, is competing to wrest away the club’s kit contract from Nike, The Independent can reveal.
The firm has been rapidly revived since it was bought from Nike 15 months ago by Iconix Brand Group, the licensing company publicly traded on Nasdaq.
There are understood to have been three meetings between Umbro and United, in New York – where Iconix is based – and the latest two weeks ago at United’s commercial base in London. The breadth of Iconix’s global experience – with 30 licensed brands including Starter, which makes NBA products in the United States, and rapper Jay-Z’s Rocawear – is a factor that has made it attractive to United.
The tussle to win the contract, which will be awarded from the end of next season and is expected to net United more than £70m a year, reveals the intense commercial pulling power of the reigning Premier League champions, despite their on-field struggles. Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is also in contention, as are Adidas, Warrior and Puma.
It was in Umbro kits that United won the 1968 European Cup, as well as the 1999 Treble, in a 40-year association which began with the 1955 First Division title success.
The Iconix deal has delivered new financial muscle to Umbro, which is 90 years old this year. The announcement last month of the deal to provide Everton’s kits from next season underlined the firm’s intention to rebuild the brand, after the five-year period under Nike ownership during which the contract to provide the England national team’s kit was lost.
Latest in Sport
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
Steven Defour: Anderlecht midfielder sent off after kicking ball into Standard Liege fans who unveiled huge banner showing him decapitated
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia