According to Sunday's News Of The World Manchester Unuited are to open talks with Nike over a world record new kit deal worth an astonishing £400million. In real terms though the actual increase is from the annual current value of £23.5 million, to £40 million a year with the new deal also projected to cover 10 years.
Nike replaced Umbro in 2002 and United have so far received over £300m from the Nike deal - by far the biggest tie up in the Premier League. According to the News of the World a United insider tolsd them "The club have made big efforts on the commercial side over the last 12 months but the kit deal is the real big one.
"The Glazer family are well aware what United's brand is currently worth.
"It's not gone unnoticed that kit deals have been taken to another level since the club entered into our original agreement."
Whether or not the Glazers have put a £40 million price tag on the deal time will tell, but it is no co-incidence that the success of foreign stars like Mexican international Javier Hernadez and South Korean Ji Sung Park have helped the Nike brand globally. The current deal has until 2015 to run, but the chances are a new deal will be hammered out before that. It seems improbable that Nike would want to lose one of its flagship brand bearers.
If any brand has a benchmark it is Nike - regarded by many as the No1 sports brand world wide - they have recently done deals worth £38m-a-year deal with the French national team to cover the next seven years, while Barcelona also rake in £26m annually. In the Uk, Arsenal's Nike deal when announced in 2004 was worth only £55m over seven-years.
But the real driver behind the moves for a new deal is prompted by United's arch rivals - Liverpool - The recently announced £25m-a-year contract with Boston-based Warrior Sports more than doubles Liverpool's present agreement with Adidas and demonstrates the value of Liverpool's new owners in the USA.
Adidas which launched a new away kit last week as part of a £12 milliopn a year contract with the club had the chance to match the American company's offer. However, they were not prepared to meet the price. It's a big blow to Adidas as only Real Madrid sell more of their branded shirts than Liverpool.
Warrior is a subisdiary of 'New Balance,' a company best known for its running shoes. Liverpool's owner, Fenway Sports Group, have become increasingly close in recent months to Jim Davis, the chairman of New Balance.It has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Boston Red Sox including a kit deal and a $1m fee for an illuminated logo inside Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox.
Liverpool's Warrior deal has set a new benchmark that United are sure to break in the upcoming months.