Glazers eye kit deal cash
Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family, believe they can banish concerns over the club's £526m debt by securing a world-record kit deal worth close to £450m before their agreement with Nike expires in 2015, writes Mark Ogden.
United's £302.9m contract with Nike, which came into force in August 2002, is currently worth approximately £25m a year to the club, because of progressive increments.
There are no plans to lay the groundwork on a new deal until at least 2012, but United's owners believe that the recent €42.6m-a-year kit deal between Nike and the French Football Federation -- worth a world-record €320m over seven years -- has set the benchmark for United.
The club are forced to service the interest on their debt with annual payments of around £45m, with the £526m bond -- floated in January this year -- due to be repaid in 2017.
Although any increased kit deal is highly unlikely to result in a lump sum one-off payment, the extra revenues generated would ease the financial pressure on the Glazers.
France's brand power is incomparable to that of United, whose global reach enabled the club to secure an £80m, four-year shirt sponsorship deal with Aon last year.
Aon cited the prospect of having its logo on "six million walking billboards" as the justification for the deal, but annual shirt sales tend not to be the main money-generating factor in kit deals.
Although Nike, which bought out England's kit manufacturer, Umbro, in a £285m takeover in October 2007, is also the kit sponsors of Barcelona and the Brazil national team, United are viewed as the leading football brand in their portfolio.