There will be those who are bound to blame the hated Glazer family for the controversial decision which will see the super successful Manchester United commercial operations move to swank offices in Mayfair. The club has agreed a deal to occupy 11,500 sq ft of luxurious new office space in the heart of London’s West End. The deal is certain to exacerbate frustration from the club’s fans who feel their American owners have lost touch with its roots. Their latest move certainly hasn’t helped matters with many claiming that the commercial team should be based in Manchester.
The deal however highlights the commercial success the club has enjoyed since launching operations in London three years ago. United set up a team in a Pall Mall office building designed to secure new sponsorship deals from around the world. It said London was a more practical base for overseas companies travelling to the UK for sponsorship talks. But the team soon expanded and required larger office space. As officebroker.com reported on its website LINK “This prompted the search for a new base that led the team west to the prestigious Mayfair – home of the United States embassy, the Royal Academy of Arts and The Dorchester.
Under commercial director Richard Arnold, United say the team has increased commercial revenues from £42.5m to £80m through deals with the likes of AON, the US insurance broker worth £20m a year. United will pay rent of almost £80 per sq ft at the Mayfair office, but the club does not want its specific location disclosed.
The move does have accessibility on its side – with several major airports, trainlines, and the underground. But whether this justifies an office in Mayfair at £80 per sq ft remains to be seen. Let’s not forget that Manchester has its own international airport, multiple transport links, and of course the stadium itself – not to mention cheaper office space, should the club ever need to cut down on expenses.
But at the moment the need to save money seems unlikely given the commercial teams impressive track record. According to The Telegraph, the division’s London base has strengthened the club enormously – helping to increase commercial revenues from £42.5m to £80m under Arnold. So from a business perspective the team are certainly earning their keep and successfully pushing the club ever forwards – which should help to keep the fans happy.
While some may not feel comfortable with such a move, it’s further evidence of how United is now a giant amongst world sporting brands which must surely auger well for the future.
Manchester United by numbers
£278.5m – The amount of revenue generated by Manchester United in 2009. This compares with £257.1m in 2008 – an 8pc increase.
£123.1m – Manchester United’s wage bill in 2009, compared with £121min 2008. West Bromwich Albion had a total wage bill of £30m in 2009, and Chelsea shelled out a total of £167m.
£82.3m – United’s operating profit before player trading in 2009.
£21.6m – United’s pre-tax profit in 2009. This compares with a loss of£44.8m in 2008.
£566m – Manchester United’s net debt levels at the end of 2009.
£3.3m – The amount Manchester United spent on its stadium facilities in 2009.
£80.3m – The amount revenue from commercial sponsorship has risen to, from £42.5m, in four years.
£80m – Aon’s 4-year shirt sponsorship deal with the club.
£302.9m – Size of the record 13-year Nike sponsorship deal.
Do you consider the commercial divisions move to Mayfair good for the club?