Manchester United Sign Lucrative Training Wear Sponsorship

August 23, 2011

English Premier League Champions, ailment Manchester United, have struck up a ground breaking four-year agreement for delivery company DHL to sponsor its training apparel, a deal that two people familiar with the matter said is worth about $66 million.

The contract is the first time any Premier League club has sold rights to sponsor only its training wear and is worth about half of the $132 million the team receives from principal sponsor Aon Corporation.

The amount of money DHL is paying for the contract is more than most other teams in the 20-team Premier League get from their main sponsors. Only Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City make more than $16.5 million from their main shirt sponsor, according to official figures and U.K. media reports. DHL has been United’s official logistics partner for a year and helped arrange this summer’s off-season tour to the U.S.

“This strategic partnership will see DHL getting more involved in the behind the scenes operations of Manchester United and supporting the club in its continued success,” said John Pearson, CEO DHL Express.

Aon, the shirt sponsor, is “very pleased with the benefits we are seeing from our principal sponsorship of Manchester United and having our name on the front of the team shirt,” Aon Corp. spokesman David Prosperi said in an e-mail. “We welcome DHL to the Manchester United family.”

David Gill, Manchester United’s Chief Executive Officer said: “This deal breaks new ground in the English game, we are delighted that DHL has chosen to pioneer training kit sponsorship with the Club.  Their global presence and international standing are a perfect fit for the world’s most popular football club.”

The plan comes as United plans an initial public offering in Singapore to raise $1 billion later this year, three people familiar with the IPO plans said last week. A stake of up to 30 percent may be sold, said one of the people.

Thanks to a series of sponsorships in recent years the team’s commercial revenue has surged to about $165 million annually, bringing that part of the business in line with income from television and matches at United’s Old Trafford Stadium.

The club also plans to announce next month a sponsorship deal with Malaysian snack-maker Mamee Double Decker Bhd Mister Potato brand.