Nike and Manchester United Set to End Equipment Partnership

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JULY 9, 2014 NY Times

After 13 years, Nike and Manchester United are calling it quits.

Nike has announced that it will end its role as the English soccer powerhouse’s primary equipment manufacturer after the coming season, in which the team’s jerseys will feature the logos of Nike and the American automaker Chevrolet, which has a separate sponsorship deal.

Nike signed a contract with Manchester United in 2002 worth a minimum of £303 million, or about $519 million at the current exchange rate. The relationship with one of the English Premier League’s best-known clubs has helped spur Nike’s sales of soccer equipment over the years.

Several news outlets reported that Adidas, the German sportswear maker, was likely to succeed Nike. The Financial Times reported that such a deal could be worth up to £750 million over 10 years, making it one of the most lucrative equipment sponsorship deals in sports.

“Any partnership with a club or federation has to be mutually beneficial, and the terms that were on offer for a renewed contract did not represent good value for Nike’s shareholders,” Nike, which is based in the United States, said in a statement late Tuesday.

Manchester United and Adidas declined to comment. Adidas and Nike have long been battling to emblazon their logos on the jerseys of the world’s top professional sports teams. Adidas manufactured Manchester United’s jerseys in the 1980s and early 1990s.

 

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