English Premier League soccer club Manchester United are the world's first professional sports team to be valued at more than USD 3 billion, according to Forbes.
Question: What do Mister Potato crisps and Smirnoff vodka have in common?
Answer: They are both official sponsors of Manchester United Football Club.
And they pay handsomely for the privilege.
These two distant products may appear to have little to do with football but they can wear the same badge as Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Co because of United’s exhaustive quest for maximum commercial revenue.
That figure is now approaching an astonishing £130million a year and will only continue to rise. No wonder United recently became the first sports team in the world to be valued at $3BILLION.
A recent surge in the club's shares after a poor start when they were offered on the New York Stock Exchange last year has boosted Manchester United's value to USD 3.3 billion, a report on Forbes's website said on Monday.
The increase has United, English champions a record 19 times, comfortably ahead of the world's second-most valuable sports team, the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys, worth USD 2.1 billion.
Forbes put the surge in United shares down to brighter earnings prospects from new sponsorship deals and said the demand could continue given the team's potential for lucrative payouts in the EPL and Champions League.
United, who claim to have 659 million followers worldwide, are owned by the American Glazer family who retained a tight grip on the club after the flotation on the New York Stock Exchange. United shares closed 41 cents lower at USD 16.48 in New York on Monday.
There are no fewer than 32 companies listed as sponsors of the club on their official website and this does not even include three - somewhat peculiar - deals announced this month.
First there was the tie-up with Indonesian tyre manufacturer Multistrada on January 7, then came Wahaha, a Chinese soft drinks producer, a week later, and on January 18 we heard Japanese paint manufacturer Kansai had become the club’s first ‘paint partner’. Painting the town red, perhaps.
THOSE PAYING THE BILLS