In the next few articles, let us understand about the sports team’s brand-building strategies. The most common strategy followed by most of the teams is:
- Sponsorship with other global brands
Being associated with other international brand names lends global presence to brands as they go worldwide. If we talk about the most richest soccer club, Manchester United, they have 44 official sponsors associated with the club.
One of the biggest tie up then in the year 2002 was Manchester United’s tie up with Nike. Both Manchester United and Nike gained in global stature after the announcement of their global tie-in 2002. Now such is the case that Nike has to discuss a £303 million kit supply deal with Manchester United and they might well have to anyhow shell out this huge sum of cash if they want to maintain their association with Manchester United. One month from now, this strategically important meeting will be talking place and the American sport wear company will have to come up with an enormous sum to satisfy the club’s owners.
The ‘Swoosh’ logo has adorned some of the greatest teams and players in the history of the game, including Manchester United legends Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo. Of the current squad, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, the Da Silva twins, Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand all wear Nike boots along with the standard kits.
In recent years, Manchester United has formed commercial alliances with a number of global players in other industries: Vodafone, Pepsi, DHL and Aon were all added to the club’s sponsorship list. Under these arrangements, the club gains from sponsors’ international reputations and sponsors gain from their association with a such big sports brand. And Manchester United is talking full advantage of this to reach out to new segment of soccer fans and in turn helping in strengthening its brand equity.
In July, United announced a staggering £357 million deal with General Motors for the Chevrolet logo to be worn on their shirts for seven seasons from 2014. Chevrolet’s eight-year partnership with Manchester United kicked off this summer with a series of friendly matches, bringing the world’s favourite football team to their fans in South Africa, Europe and China. The support for, and commitment to Manchester United and its passionate fans worldwide will go far beyond the pre-season games as General Motors look to join the fans in celebrating all that is beautiful about the game.
One of the biggest logistics company which is present in 220 countries and territories worldwide has tied up United in 2011. DHL were made responsible to undertake a range of logistics services on behalf of Manchester United for three years. Just like DHL, Manchester United stands for passion, teamwork and can-do spirit. And it’s those same characteristics that have enabled both DHL and Manchester United to remain at the top of their game and thus join together and build its brand.
The last two deals done recently by Manchester United were with the two sponsors from China (Wahaha, a soft drinks manufacturer and China Construction Bank (CCB). Both have tied up for a three year deal. CCB will hold the exclusive rights to produce the official Manchester United branded credit card in Mainland China. Wahaha has been the largest beverage producer in China for the past 11 years and will be the club’s first official soft drinks partner in the country.
This is just one of the many strategic decision taken by this 135-year-old soccer club from Britain. In the coming article, I would write about Manchester United’s Asian Strategy, mainly highlighting its entry into the Indian market.