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Football Sponsorships: How do United measure against other top clubs?

The old adage of money making the world go round is certainly applicable in football, with the top four teams in Europe in a power struggle to rule financially. Manchester United have signed a number of lucrative sponsorship deals of late, however Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are all as equally ambitious when it comes to monetising their presence as the leading brands in world football.

United recently posted a record third-quarter revenue of £91.7 million, largely down to a number of new sponsorships deals. The Aon deal, which runs until 2021, is reportedly worth £15 million a season and has seen the training ground renamed Aon Training Complex. A record shirt sponsorship with Chevrolet has been put in place to commence from 2014 – with the American giants to pay £45 million a year; double Aon’s current investment. With a new Nike kit deal, estimated to be worth between £58m and £70m a year, in the offing from July 2015, the future looks rosy for the Old Trafford outfit.

United have 36 companies worldwide that sponsor them, from household names to smaller and more obscure deals. The Red Devils now have an official social gaming partner in the form of Japanese firm gloop. A five-year partnership with the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has been announced. Other lesser-known deals include Mister Potato as the official savoury snack partner, Kansai Paint as the official paint partner, Mamee as the official noodles partner of Manchester United for Asia, Oceania and Middle East and Globul as the official telecommunications partner of Manchester United in Bulgaria.

United’s obsession with signing more and more sponsorship deals has partially been to satisfy the debt burden but also to maintain their dominant position in European football with Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all able to outspend United (not to mention domestic rivals Chelsea and Man City).

Madrid have announced that Emirates are set to replace Bwin as shirt sponsor, which will upgrade their current deal. Although it is not as lucrative as United’s agreement with Chevrolet, it will provide the Spanish capital city team with €30 million (£25.7 million) per year.  Adidas will continue its shirt sponsor of the Santiago Bernabeu club until 2019/20, at a figure of €32 million (£27.4 million) per year. Other commercial partners include Beiersdorf AG + Yamaha. A statement on the Forbes website recently stated that “Los Merengues are simply bigger, more profitable and growing faster than Manchester United.” Yes, that lopsided TV deal certainly helps, while United’s interest payments keep them pegged back.

Barcelona have always been a financial powerhouse, but the £25 million per year deal with Qatar Airways will boost the Blaugrana’s spending power. Barcelona have also recently signed a four-year extension on their deal with Africa-focused telecommunications group Etisalat, and their long standing partnership with Audi, which started in 2006, is set to run until 2014. The Camp Nou club also agreed its first international sponsorship deal in the Indian market with Nokia India in October 2012.

Newly crowned Champions League winners Bayern Munich also have commercial deals in place to see them at the forefront of European football for years to come. Their shirt sponsorship with Deutsche Telekom in 2009 was the most lucrative in history at the time, and currently provides the Bundesliga champions with £23.6 million per year. It was extended last year. The club lists its premium sponsors as Audi, Coca-Cola, Bwin, Samsung and Paulaner Brewery, amongst others.

Bayern were fifth on the Forbes rich list, and also are reaping the financial benefit of their stadium deal with Allianz; something the other three giants do not have. The German side’s sponsorship deals fall short of that of the other three, but not by much.

All in all United are sitting in a strong commercial position with its global sponsors, which will continue to see much-needed revenue come into the club. However, with the fight for European dominance in the forefront of the club’s mind, a number of formidable financial opponents are read to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League champions.



  1. Ash says:

    Lets hope Moyes era is also successful and profitable like Sir alex’s era

  2. Marq says:

    Real & Barca have their TV deal, Bayern have their stadium deal. I’d say we are doing pretty well with that handicap

  3. Ash says:


    From this coming season onwards even we will have good TV deal. We got 60 millions this season. Next season even the relegated team will get minimum 63 millions. So manchester United could earn more than 100 millions from next season. I just hope Moyes keeps the red flag of United high

  4. Marq says:


    Yea, it was more about the past 5 years, somehow we have managed to stay at the top without those deals, and you have to give the Glaziers some credit, pulling in record deals even when we had a limp season in the CL

  5. Trydent says:

    What have we got here? Dumb and dumber? Those filthy leeches that bought our club suck us dry like a sand dune swallowing a bucket of water.It infuriates me to find people that cannot see or don’t care about the truth.Everyone of us that loves this club and pays to see matches support those fucking scum. Give them credit………. Credit for what? Enriching themselves at the expense of everyone of us.

  6. Marq says:

    I think you will find that as a PLC, there is also outflow in the form of dividends to shareholders, so its no different

  7. ahjs says:

    After how many years the Sunday Supplement delivered today with Guardian journalist Rafa Honigsteien. Stuck it to Rooney like our press, and our own gullible United fans wouldn’t dare.

    Said Rooney has been indulged. Obviously found it amusing that Bayern were even linked with him. No way he justifies his wages. What he said about a professional footballers’ job being to be fit for the start of the season, and not one month later was spot on. For that money you shouldn’t need to be going to conditioning training during the season to get fit.

    Unprofessional, inconsistent and overrated. Spot on.

  8. Keane16 says:

    Was on a BWIN jolly in Manchester this week. No expense spared 2 nite in Malmaison dinner in 2 top restaurants near Deansgate free drink both nites and tour lunch meet and greet with 4 ex Reds at OT. They -BWIN – have paid £6 million just to be Uniteds official betting partner

  9. Jay says:

    @ahjs do you have the link for the article please?

  10. United till I die says:

    Mamee is our official noodle partner in Asia that good to know. It’s only a matter of time before we have the noodle market cornered worldwide.

  11. Dela says:

    @Marq –> Yep, I wasn’t happy with how the Glazers bought the club, and I’d rather see us out of the debt. That being said, It’s not like the Glazers takeover denied us any success. We won the Premier League five times, and the European Cup, and reached two additional finals. Of course, Sir Alex was the ultimate reason for this, but the predicted doom never came. While the club has paid a lot in interest payments, it’s revenues have also skyrocketed. Those responsible for getting revenue to Manchester United under the Glazer ownership really know how to sell the brand. Let me even just quote a couple of lines from this item….

    “United’s obsession with signing more and more sponsorship deals has partially been to satisfy the debt burden but also to maintain their dominant position in European football with Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all able to outspend United”

    Hmmn.. and here I thought United’s “obsession” with sponsorship deals was simply a business seeking to maximize its revenue potential. This would be happening with or without debt.

    Predicting what would have happened without the glazers is impossible because other buyers may have been interested and any number of different scenarios could have occurred, but the most anti-Glazer elements always ASSUME that we’d have had the same success or better, because we’d have had the same revenue without interest payments and as I said, they have no way of knowing this, they just assume and assert it as the alternative that was denied by the Glazers.

    Somehow they have a blind spot for across the City where Man City have spent extraordinary amounts of money since 08 and managed to just barely clinch a premier league title that United threw away and won an FA Cup. They haven’t even yet managed to get into the last 16 of the champions league. Chelsea have been more successful since their takeover but to put in perspective, when Abramovich took over the Premier League was the shit hot league that every player dreamed of playing in, and his money allowed him to elevate Chelsea rapidly, and also helped by the mind of Murinho. But as time went on and the Spanish League giants became more attractive Chelsea’s success slowed down quickly. They won the league 2010 by a point, but you have to go back to 2006 to find their previous league victory. Sure, they won the champions league last year in probably the most dull fashion you could win it, but then they didn’t even make the last 16 this year.

    So when you go looking for examples of clubs that spent themselves silly, it’s not the perfect scenario that we’re presented with by MUST and others who want to tell us about a parallel universe where the Glazers didn’t exist. Who is to say that if Alex Ferguson spent £100 million more that we WOULDN’T have been as successful? Nobody can say that.

    Fans have every right to be concerned over debt, I do not question that at all. But making up fairy tale scenarios that we have allegedly been denied, and denying the obvious wonderful performance off the pitch by the men and women responsible for bringing money to the club, is wrong. A lot of it is driven also, I think, by a desire to have more power at the club. Alex Ferguson said not long ago that ever since he has been at Manchester United, many different groups of people have claimed that they own it.

  12. wayne says:

    simple fact is Utd have never spent mega millions on players except for the occasional player even before the Glazers took over especially the foreign stars,below is a list of Utd’s transfers it’s obvious for everyone to see.When the Anti’s say it’s effected Utd buying big players it’s simply not true.Another thing Glazer’s bought there first shares in 2003 so it was plain to anyone who wanted to see what was happening even after McManus and Magnier sold 29% in 2005 Glazers still didn’t have a controlling interest.It took Glazers over 2 yrs to pull this off with nobody attempting to block them and shares being sold to them,so a lot of people need to look in the mirror.
    Anyway From 1992 to 2005,13 seasons Utd spent aprox 242 mill at an ave of 18mill per year.Very few big foreign signings the biggest being Veron for 28mill,less than 20 for RVN,10 for Stam,12 for Ronnie but hardly any and no foreign Rent Boys
    From the 2005/06 season Utd have spent approx 285 mill at an ave of 35 and a half mill per year,so Utd have doubled their yearly transfer spending since the Glazier takeover,so Utd not being able to spend under the Glazers and things being so much better before is just another truthism that needs putting to bed

  13. The One says:

    Spot on @Dela, exactly how I feel, I couldn’t have put it better!!

  14. Marq says:

    Exactly Dela. If we were so good at bringing in sponsors in the first place, we would have had all these international sponsors at our peak in 98/99, but all these international sponsors only came after the Glazers came.

    So whilst I don’t like the debt placed on us, you have to admit they did very well at pushing our brand.

    And with all the comedy going on in those billionaires’ clubs, you have to admit, another thing they did well was to stay out of our football matters

  15. Dela says:

    @wayne –> very interesting link. Ye I have also listed all the players bought under the Glazer ownership here once before and some people seemed genuinely surprised to see it. I didn’t actually realise the average expenditure was double, though I’m also sure that Rooney dramatically increased revenue from selling players too?

    @The One –> Thanks. I could be wrong, but my point is that the anti-Glazer elements could be wrong too. All we actually have to work with is history, there is no definite alternative to compare against, only what can be dreamed up.

    And as a reply to both of you, I think that if fans had been given – by some miracle – a glimpse at the success we would have under the Glazers, I’m not sure the initial push back would have been as bad.

    Think about it, with Chelsea being a problem, Arsenal looking strong etc. what if somehow fans could have been assured something like this…

    Option 1: “If it happens, the club immediately takes on approx 700m debt, some of it quite high interest (PIK notes). This means the club will pay a substantial interest payment per season. While that is true, the debt will reduce to approx half by 2013, the interest payments will be much lower, a chunk of the club will be publicly traded, revenue will dramatically increase and average spending on players per season will increase. On the pitch, United are guaranteed to win multiple Premier League titles over the next 8 years, will contest multiple champions league finals too.”

    Option 2: “The Glazers do not attempt a takeover and whatever happens, happens.”

    While a lot of the anti-Glazer crowd will probably claim now that they’d have taken Option 2, I’m not so sure, not with the Chelsea situation in particular.

    But like I said, I could be wrong, I’m not claiming to be absolutely right, and that’s the difference I think.

  16. wayne says:

    Dela it’s very close prior to the Roonie sale ave was 34 mill per year and that would’ve been when the debt was at it’s highest

  17. Dela says:

    @Marq –> Well I don’t know about being able to attract as lucrative sponsorship deals in 98/99. We have to remember that football as a global business has grown insanely since then, and it was already huge then. The world has also changed, in 98/99, most internet was dial-up, good smartphones didn’t exist etc. A lot more money is involved in football now than ever before, it’s a much bigger “industry” (if you can call it that) so potential sponsors are willing to part with more funds than ever before.

    But what I am 100% in agreement with is Alex Ferguson’s unimpeded dictatorship where he needed it. This is something that you can’t really guarantee when a club is in public ownership. Even though in both situations the board is responsible for choosing coaching staff and so on, a privately-held structure can probably get through down times in this business a bit better than a publicly traded company.

    For example, what if Chelsea did just get completely dominant, and Arsenal didn’t stagnate, and Liverpool kept up their challenge and United were fighting for Europe, with potential dramatic drops in revenue always a risk? What would that do to the stock value, and what way would the board deal with a plummeting valuation? I’m betting Fergie may not have annexed his control in a situation like that.

    That doesn’t mean I think the Glazers is the ultimate solution to that dilemma, but I do lean toward a club privately owned with limited amounts of stock made available if/when the club seeks new capital for something, but not a club that is completely owned by a large number of demanding shareholders.

  18. Dela says:

    @wayne –> thanks! and it looks like I insulted Ronnie by calling him Rooney :P

  19. ahjs says:


    Was on TV, so no article. But the podcast is available somewhere on the Sky Sports football site.

  20. wakey says:

    On the Glazier transfer spending it would have been even higher as well if it hadn’t been for the Sugar Daddy clubs inflating wage demands. The clubs atleast during all of Fergies time stuck to the business principle of no more than 50% of revenue being spent on wages which even with revenue increases puts a limit on wages which sugar daddys who are willing to let their club spend 70%, 80%, 90% or even more than 100% of their revenue on wages don’t have

    Look at last summer when at one point we had bids accepted for Kagawa, Hazard, Lucas and RvP. That was close to 100mill and we missed out on two of them on wages and thats just a handful of players we missed out on as either others offered more wages or they just fancied playing in Spain more (which for a wile was mainly because they got taxed lower than in the UK so made more on the same wages)

    “Well I don’t know about being able to attract as lucrative sponsorship deals in 98/99″
    Yes there wasn’t as much but look at how quickly the Glaziers ramped it up and it shows the PLC were caught sleeping. They were more concerned with the share price than maximizing revenue as they seemed to think the club was safe at being able to spend the most when the key player was available which changed when RA bought Chelsea (Sure we had seen off the likes of Jack Walkers money before but they were all small scale). The PLC seemed to spend too long looking for the right sponsor rather than one that’s going to pay the most. I suspect there are firms that no matter what they offered the Glaziers would say no as it would damage sponsorship in other areas but they are less picky as long as the money is good

    Except until the share sales they hadn’t really drawn anything of significance out of the club. Even now having sold 10% they haven’t recouped the cost of buying the initial 30% to trigger the takeover which was done so with their own money as the £700mill of which 500mill was borrowed against the club and a further £200mill was from personal PIKS was just the cost to buy the remaning 70% of the shares.

    The interest on the £500mill bank loan is no different really to paying out a dividend to shareholders. The bank was the shareholder now and they were entitled to a dividend in the form of the interest just as all those who owned shares in the PLC were entitled to a return on their investment each year

  21. LT3313 says:

    David Beckham should really be part of United’s team commercially. Make him a brand ambassador before the bloody virus do !

  22. Ben says:

    I’m happy with the Glazers. A PLC is no different, they just pay the shareholders. It seems the deals we are getting are going to put the debt away and we will still match anyone when it comes to money. Fergie, Gill and Glazers have all played their part.

    I don’t like the leverage buyout, but so far we have been as successful as ever and stable. That’s good enough for me, now to see what Moyes can do.

  23. domunited says:

    Man United’s big sponsor is also Liverpool’s big sponsor. If we in fact will display the Chevy logo on kits while the scousers do as well, then United’s sponsorship department are dead to me.

    The punchline when I was a kid: “Friends don’t let friends drive Chevy’s”

  24. Wakey says:


    Incorrect. Chevy are just second tier sponsors at Liverpool (They are Official Car Sponsors which puts them on par with Mr Potato as United Official snack Sponsor)

    Chevy at United are currently Official Car sponsors but after that deal they upped it to be Primary Shirt Sponsor from 2014.

    And even if both were primary sponsors then who cares as its another bragging point over Liverpool as United as using the car sponsorship as an example United would be valued much higher (United car deal was signed before Liverpools but Liverpool only got $5mill which is less than the old Audi deal of ours was so the new official car sponsorship deal will be significantly more)

  25. jimmyanderson1872 says:

    Can’t believe there are so many short-sighted Glazer supporters on here.

    Every penny they have added to the price of a ticket has gone to pay for their leveraged buy out of United. That’s why paying fans are kicking off and still unhappy with them.

    See for the facts.

    The spending comparison pre and post Glazer doesn’t work due to inflation. £7 million for Cole in ’95 compared to £80 million for Ronaldo in ’09.


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