Friday, May 13, 2005

ManU's great US marketing opportunities

Reviewing the takeover of Manchester United FC by Malcolm Glazer, owner of the US National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, CNN bought to light ManU’s significant brand presence in the huge US market:

  • The purchase price is 50 percent more than the most expensive NFL team, the Washington Redskins. It would also be enough to buy both the Yankees and their rival Red Sox.

    Man U has sold more licensed jerseys in the United States year to date than all the US Major League Soccer teams combined -- about 2,500 shirts at 12,000 stores nationwide -- more than the number of uniforms sold by Glazer's cross-bay NFL rivals Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and tops sales totals of 19 out of the 24 National Hockey League teams.

  • Former ManU star David Beckham is as well known to the average US sports fan (52 percent) as the reigning Most Valuable Players of the American League and the National Basketball Association, according to a survey last month by Marketing Evaluations.

  • When ManU played on the ChampionsWorld tours of exhibition games around the USA the last two summers, the team drew an average of 65,655 fans to each game. That's better than the average attendance of 10 NFL teams last year, including Glazer's Bucs. It's almost triple the average attendance of the MLS' most popular team, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

  • David Sternberg, general manager of the Fox Soccer Channel, which shows English Premier League games and other European matches, said it's not uncommon for Man U matches to get twice the viewership of its other games.

The United States is still a relatively small part of its revenue stream, well less than 10 percent according to most estimates. And other non-European markets may offer even more growth potential.