Nike has ended a 13-year deal to manufacturer Manchester United's football kit. Melanie Ralph looks at why and who will get the next multi-million dollar deal.
They've been a match made in heaven for over thirteen years. But now Nike and Manchester United are heading for a divorce. The question now is what will replace the iconic tick now the red shirts are up for grabs? Adidas will be one that's sure to be waiting on the sidelines. But with Manchester United looking for nearly DOUBLE what it previously asked for, it's not certain who will want to sign up next. Last season the club earned around 38 MILLION pounds from the kit deal, that's over 64 MILLION dollars. Now it's looking to secure 60 MILLION pounds a season...that would be a record club deal. But Adidas may not be the only kit maker aiming to score with Manchester United: SOUNDBITE: ROBERT HAIGH, SPORTS ANALYST, BRAND FINANCE, saying (English): "Other takers could be Warrior or under armour or Puma or a chinese brand for example, they're yet to make their mark in European football really but Li Ning is a huge Chinese retailer that recently established a US HQ in Portland, which Nike's home city so moving into replace them would be a logical next step." Football is big business, and for Manchester United, an international fan base makes them a hot ticket for sponsors. But with Nike's rival Puma reportedly only paying 30 MILLION pounds a season for a deal with Arsenal, maybe Man U is shooting too high. PTC Manchester United are the trail blazers when it comes to brand equity. Up until now their success on the pitch has meant companies have been clamouring to get in on the action. But after they failed to qualify for any European competitions last season, the tide could be about to turn. Walking away from Man U certainly doesn't end Nike's relationship with football. The worlds largest sportswear group already has deals with Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain. And Nike is hot on the heels of Adidas the top selling brand in the sport United - owned by the American Glazer family - is still investing. It's looking to buy new players to get it back up the soccer league and keep it top of the sponsorship table.