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Manchester United: “The US market is under penetrated”

Sep 19, 2013, 11:31 AM EDT

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Next stop on the commercial horizon for Manchester United?

America the beautiful.

Following yesterday’s announcement of the club’s 13.4% rise in overall revenue to $584 million (£363.2m) for the year to June 30, 2013, United expect to generate annual revenue in excess of $675 million (£420m) by this time next year.

And a significant portion of that revenue could come from commercial ventures in the United States.

“The US market is under penetrated,” United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said. “It is a very big media market, the most developed sports market in the world.

“But we don’t want to deals that are quick and wrong, that tie us up and we regret afterwards.

“We believe there has been an inflection point from 2010-11 when interest levels in football have increased.

“In the last three years the number of people watching Manchester United has gone up by between 30 and 35 per cent each year.” Woodward also mentioned United’s belief that in the United States, soccer is “moving away from being a niche sport and into the territory of competing with some of the top sports in the country.”

United has already accessed the US market through a variety of ventures, including their most recent shirt deal with car manufacturer Chevrolet, set to launch next season. How else the Premier League giants plan entrance remains to be seen but United’s massive commercial arm will soon boast an office in New York and now represents 42 per cent of total revenue.

  1. geojock - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    That’s what she said.

  2. dfstell - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I’m a little unclear on what they’ll do differently. Most fans become fans because the team is good and plays players who are interesting and fun to watch.

    This sort of news is also lousy news for poor MLS. I mean, they have such an uphill struggle that I almost feel sorry for them. America finally embraces soccer as the sport of the future…..but they all become fans of EPL clubs.

    • wandmdave - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:39 PM

      I don’t think thats a problem for MLS. If EPL pulls eyes to soccer some will find the domestic league. Those few are better than none.

    • talgrath - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      MLS probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the Premier League; American fans wanting to watch the games showed that there is a hunger for soccer in America. There is something to be said for a sort of synergy here too, EPL games are on in the late mornings and early afternoons in America, MLS games could be scheduled to show up shortly thereafter on NBCSN and some people might just stick around. As a note, NBCSN execs and MLS would be foolish not to embrace this idea, make it happen!

  3. hildezero - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    @dfstell,

    Don’t feel sorry MLS. This is not a black eye to them. MLS plans to be a top league in the world by 2022. I don’t know if this will hurt MLS or not, but it’s not for you to feel sorry for them. Let MLS do themselves. They’ll be okay. Go to the MLS website and watch the video from Bloomberg, then come back here and tell me if you still feel bad for this league.

  4. randomhookup - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    I don’t see any great harm to MLS, though I would expect this office to go after US firms as sponsors. Most of them will be globally focused brands, so it won’t usually be companies that MLS is competing for. It might even convince some of the firms to look at MLS for sponsorship opportunities, though they could end up competing for the same dollars on occasion.

  5. braxtonrob - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    To think (even for a second) that EPL will become more popular than MLS in the US is absolutely laughable. LOL

    • babatundew - Sep 19, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      It already is

    • mdac1012 - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      If you go by TV ratings, EPL is more popular than MLS, so the premise is not really laughable at all. Will it still be the case 10 years from now? Who knows? MLS has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years and I agree with the argument that the popularity of EPL raises the profile of soccer in the US and helps MLS in the long run.

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