Skip to content

Report: Nike, Manchester United to split, as Southampton goes in-house

Jul 8, 2014, 7:58 AM EDT

Southampton home shirt

It turns out there’s truth to the rumor that Nike’s relationship with Manchester United will be no more.

Reuters has issued a report that, according to sources, the American sportswear giant is stepping away from its longstanding status as kit-supplier to the Red Devils over what it considers an imprudent cost of doing business.

And to be fair, United came close to doubling its asking price.

From the report:

“Clearly Nike’s football business is booming and they could easily afford to do this (deal). They had the right to match any other offer but looking at the deal on the table, they will walk away as it doesn’t make commercial sense,” the source said.

United got around 38 million pounds ($64.7 million) from the Nike deal in 2012-13, including its share of profit from the sale of merchandise around the world.

Media reports had suggested the club was looking for a new deal worth around 60 million pounds per season.

Everything has its breaking point, and a doubled-cost is apparently Nike’s line in the sand (thought Nike unveiled its latest Manchester United shirts earlier this month).

It will be interesting to see how this affects the fee for other clubs and their apparel providers, as the move is likely less about Manchester United and more about the cost of doing business with massive clubs as a whole. There’s no doubt this story will be discussed in board rooms from Barcelona to Rome and beyond.

And as Southampton moved its shirt production in house — and, gasp, they still look fine — could the industry be seeing teams playing a bit of hardball? The Saints deal seems to be more about a disagreement in turnaround time with adidas, but surely eyes will also be watching whether there’s shirt success at St. Mary’s despite a lack of manufacturer branding on the kit.

It wouldn’t bother me one bit if I were a Saints fan, but I’m not one for caring about a shirt brand. Would it stop you from buying a shirt? Perhaps more importantly in the branding world, who absorbs the criticism if the fans don’t like a shirt? In Southampton’s case, there’s little to worry about: Fans have been clamoring for the return of vertical stripes for two seasons, so this is a wise risk from the Saints.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: Crystal Palace’s top-10 finish “unbelievable”, says Pardew

    May 24, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace FC Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace FC

    Alan Pardew has seen Crystal Palace rise to snag a 10th place Premier League finish.

  2. Manuel Pellegrini on speculation of his firing: “I never had any doubt all season”

    May 24, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City FC Getty Images

    Manchester City ended its Premier League season in second place, and manager Manuel Pellegrini is optimistic about his job safety.

  3. Championship playoff final preview: Middlesbrough and Norwich eye Premier League dream

    May 24, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    NorwichMiddlesbrough Getty Images

    With 90 minutes at Wembley to prove they’re worthy of the Premier League, the third and fourth place finishers in the Championship do battle with promotion on the line.

  4. Premier League final day roundup: 2014-15 season finishes with a flourish

    May 24, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    In case you missed anything, here’s what happened on the final day of the PL season.

  5. Report: Schalke has fired Roberto Di Matteo after failing to earn Champions League play

    May 24, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    DiMatteo Getty Images

    The club won just three of its final 14 matches, nosediving out of a Champions League position and leaving the manager without a job.

  6. Newcastle’s owner gives rare interview: “From this day forward we will be making our own luck.”

    May 24, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    Newcastle United's English owner Mike Ashley (L) smiles with managing director Lee Charnley (R) as he waits for the kick off in the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, north east England on May 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.        (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    This summer will be key, especially if Middlesbrough brings another set of Northeast Derbies to the Premier League. What’s next for Newcastle?

  7. VIDEO: Arsene Wenger pleased after big season-ending win

    May 24, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Wenger Getty Images

    Arsenal finished the season in third place and put on a good showing in their final match of the season.

  8. Brendan Rodgers takes “full responsibility” for Liverpool’s season-ending disaster

    May 24, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT

    Rodgers Getty Images

    The Liverpool manager knows he could have hurt his position today with a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Stoke City on the season’s final day.

  9. VIDEO: John Terry lifts Premier League title as Chelsea’s celebrations begin

    May 24, 2015, 1:03 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Getty Images

    The Blues hoist the trophy in front of their own fans in west London.

  10. ‘Exhausted’ Bruce after Hull relegation: “My future is for others to decide”

    May 24, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KC Stadium on May 24, 2015 in Hull, England. Getty Images

    Hull spent on Abel Hernandez and others in a relatively splashy summer, but still sink into the second tier.

  11. Newcastle’s Carver: “I want a summer where I can bring in the players I want”

    May 24, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    Newcastle United's Argentinian midfielder Jonas Gutierrez (R) celebrates after he scores with Newcastle United's English head coach John Carver (L) during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, north east England on May 24, 2015. Newcastle won the game 2-0 to avoid relegation. AFP PHOTO / IAN MACNICOL

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR LIVE SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 45 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.        (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A resilient John Carver, buoyed by Newcastle United avoiding the drop, has reiterated his desire to lead the Premier League club.

  12. Aston Villa 0-1 Burnley: Ings ensures Clarets finish with a win

    May 24, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League Getty Images

    Clarets sign off with a win as Villa go into FA Cup final on the back of two-straight defeats.

  13. West Ham announce Sam Allardyce will not return as manager

    May 24, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT

    Allardyce Getty Images

    West Ham released a statement on Allardyce’s removal seconds after Sunday’s final whistle.

  14. Manchester City 2-0 Southampton: Lampard, Aguero sink Saints

    May 24, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT

    Saints must wait for Europa League spot, as Lampard signs off in style.

  15. Everton 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Kane’s early goal enough as Spurs seal fifth

    May 24, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  Harry Kane of Spurs scores his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on May 24, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kane nodded home an Eric Dier cross to give Spurs a lead, and Tottenham controlled possession for most of the match in holding on for all three points.

Featured video

Chelsea lift the 2014-15 PL trophy