United sign kit deal worth pounds 80m


Manchester United have signed what is believed to be the biggest ever kit sponsorship deal in football. Their six-year deal with Umbro is believed to be worth a remarkable pounds 80m.

The deal was announced yesterday after months of negotiations behind the scenes as the world's leading sportswear manufacturers vied for the prize contract.

Umbro were forced to come up with the pounds 80m under heavy competition from their rivals, Nike and Reebok. Nike had offered pounds 50m over four years.

However Umbro, who are based in Manchester, topped that figure in a new six-year deal and made sure the bidding stopped before their present arrangement ends in July 1998.

Martin Edwards, the United chairman, refused to comment on the size of the deal but explained: "We could have gone two ways. We looked closely at doing it ourselves and we did have an interest from a very large company.

"Others rang to negotiate, but we did not get too far down the road with them because of our talks with Umbro. We've been happy with the four years we have had with them and they were prepared to come to us early in the agreement to renew it."

Peter Kenyon, Umbro's chief operating officer, said: "Manchester United are the biggest club in Britain and one of the biggest in the world. I can't name figures, but reasonable conjecture would be that the agreement reflects their status."

The sale of sportswear has helped to transform football's finances in recent years. In the 1994-95 tax year, United's income from merchandising was pounds 23.5m, which outstripped the club's gate receipts by nearly pounds 4m. In that year the club had a turnover of pounds 60m and made a profit of pounds 16.3m before transfer fees and taxation.

Merchandising has taken off to such an extent that United opened a megastore at Old Trafford last year. However, there has been criticism of the frequency with which United change their playing strips. Any change of kits inevitably provides a major boost to kit sales.

Edwards said: "They [Umbro] pay us money for us to wear their strip and recover those monies through the sale of replica kits.

"The deal does not mean another kit will go on sale. We are into a cycle now and there will be a new home strip coming out in August, but all our fans know that.

"We always have three strips in existence and each has a three-year life cycle. The deal means we carry on with that cycle. Had we changed supplier, we would have to have three new kits on sale at the start of next season."

United are not the only people who will be making a substantial profit out of their latest deal. Umbro are expected to make a profit in the six years of around pounds 100m.

The United shops alone have a huge annual turnover, the price of their Umbro gear reflecting the kind of money that can be made. Strips, home and away, cost pounds 25 upwards for a shirt, pounds 12 for shorts and pounds 8 for socks.

The popular line in coats and tracksuits that can be seen around Old Trafford are also a major money-spinner. The distinctive Umbro coats can cost up to pounds 75, while tracksuits vary between pounds 50 and pounds 60.

Umbro's success in winning the contract will be a setback for Nike. They won a major contract with Arsenal in their first football venture and have made substantial profits from football ever since.

The first month's turnover on Arsenal kits was an amazing pounds 6m, which puts the pounds 80m on offer at United into some sort of perspective. United's six-year deal is easily the longest in the game and should remain the most lucrative for years to come.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little