Manchester United’s commercial bubble is showing no signs of bursting in 2015 with the announcement of Swiss financial services provider Swissquote as its first global sponsor of the year.
The banking firm is to become the club’s first official global forex and online financial trading partner. It is the latest sponsor United has purposely carved out space for on its crowded commercial roster, further enhancing its attempts to be less reliant on matchday revenues as its main source of income.
Richard Arnold, managing director of Manchester United Group, the club’s commercial arm, said: “Swissquote are one of the top ten largest Forex brokers in the world and are by far the strongest and most reliable competitor in the market. The technology and services they offer are superior to anything else available, offering customers the ability to take their finances into their own hands.”
From a noodles maker in Japan to an African telecoms provider, United has amassed a colourful army of regionalised, albeit smaller, sponsorships in recent years. The club’s money spinning saw it leapfrog Bayern Munich and Barcelona FC to claim second spot in this year’s Deloitte Football Money League just a year after it was muscled out of the top three earners.
But United cannot afford to slow down its sponsorship charge. Matchday revenue plummeted 22.8 per cent to £15.1m in the 12 months to June, driven by a tumultuous period of transition under former manager David Moyes that ended with the club finishing seventh, missing out on Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in 20 years.
Commercial revenues soared 24.1 per cent year-on-year last season to £189.3m off the back of three global sponsorships deals, nine regional tie-ups and eight financial and telecom partnerships. Momentum slowed in the three months to November when commercial revenues were down £3.1m primarily due to a less lucrative preseason tour and lower revenue and profit share from its deal with Nike.
The club expects 2015 will see strong revenue inflow from its Adidas and Chevrolet deals.