United sign kit deal worth pounds 80m

ALAN NIXON

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.

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes