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Nov 27, 2012 9:23pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

LONDON —Manchester United is hoping to break into the U. Johnny Unitas Jersey .S. market to cash in on
its global appeal. The record 19-time English champions will open an office on
the East Coast to maximize commercial opportunities in the United States, where
the club is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The exact location is yet
to be determined but it would replicate the operation set up by the clubs
American owners in London that has turned United into one of footballs biggest
moneymakers. “The U.S. we view as a really good opportunity,” vice chairman Ed
Woodward said Tuesday in the boardroom of the clubs London offices. “The U.S.
media rights for soccer have rocketed. The 2010 World Cup, they were the No. 1
payer for broadcasting rights. Its rocketed again for 2014 in Brazil and we are
expecting the Premier League to have a good outcome there for the (TV) rights
given the way its taken off from being a niche sport.” Woodward said the U.S.
office would be the first time a sports team has opened such an overseas
commercial office. “There is real value there we believe from media deals,
merchandising and sponsorship deals,” he said. Commercial revenue grew 13.7 per
cent to a record 117.6 million pounds ($188.4 million) in 2011-12 thanks to a
new uniform sponsor and dozens of regional sponsorship deals now in place with
companies, mainly in Asia and the Middle East. The club will be touring India
and Australia next summer. Three sponsorship deals have been reached with
Japanese firms alone—the latest a soft drink company—since the signing of
midfielder Shinji Kagawa in the off-season. “Its going gangbusters in Japan,”
Woodward said. “He was bought for his football skills. The tail never wags the
dog but obviously the commercial team here was rubbing their hands at the
opportunity that a Japanese player is probably going to do more for us than a
Belgian player.” The deals helped the club raise the revenue to cut the debt
resulting from the takeover by the Glazer family in 2005. The gross debt is now
360 million pounds ($576 million), Woodward said. The Glazer family sold 8.3
million shares on the New York Stock Exchange in August with the aim of raising
around $110 million. But Woodward said the listing—after a failed attempt to
float on the stock exchange in Asia—is not a precursor to the club being sold
outright by the Glazers, even though there have been recent approaches. “Its a
very popular business that people have interest in—the answer is Not for
sale,” Woodward said. “They are not willing sellers at all,” he added. “They
wont even engage. They are long term investors … The excitement they have in
the club is undiminished and I dont see them selling completely for many, many
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Kvitova withdrew from the WTA Championships on Wednesday because of a viral
illness and will be replaced by Samantha Stosur. Kvitova said she wasnt sure
what she was suffering from, but that she had a sore throat and stomach
problems. She was scheduled to see a doctor later Wednesday. The Czech player
lost her opening match Tuesday, falling 6-3, 6-2 to Agnieszka Radwanska. Kvitova
said she her been shaking throughout the match. The season-endinng tournament
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alternate. Kvitova said she was hoping to recover in time to play in the Fed Cup
final next week against Serbia. “I try my best to be ready for the Fed Cup. Its
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