Manchester United Cashes In On Global Strategy With 30% Sponsorship Growth
Thanks to ten new sponsorship deals in the last quarter, Manchester United today reported sponsorship revenue is up over 32% from the previous year. In addition to the club's record $559 million shirt sponsorship with U.S. automaker, GM (Chevrolet), the club signed partnerships with Bwin, Toshiba Medical Systems, Yanmar (global); Kagome (regional); Santander, Shinsei Bank and MBNA (financial services); Bakcell (mobile); and Fuji TV (MUTV). The geographic diversity of the team's new partners reflects the club's increased emphasis on sponsorship sales outside of Europe.
"Manchester United had a record first quarter driven by our commercial operation, which continues to experience extremely strong global revenue growth in new media & mobile, retail merchandising & sponsorship," Ed Woodward, Executive Vice Chairman said.
During the quarter, Man U opened up a new Hong Kong office to court APAC companies, which it says has already made a positive impact on sponsorship sales. The team also plans to soon open up a U.S.-based office to tarted North American media, merchandising and sponsorship deals.
The global nature of the team's sponsorship strategy is supported by that of its largest sponsor, GM, whose CEO recently noted that it sponsored Manchester United to reach fans in Asia, not Europe.
"There are 350 million fans, rabid fans of Man U in China," GM Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson said. "They have more fans in China than there are people in the U.K. This was for emerging market strategy for Chevrolet on a global basis....Man U is a global play; it's not a European play."