Nike and Manchester United part ways as team reportedly signs new $100 million kit contract


(Luis M. Alvarez/AP)

It looks like Manchester United players will soon have a new kit sponsor, as it looks like the multimillion-dollar deal that surfaced in May to transfer the sponsorship from Nike to Adidas is set to go through. ESPN reports:

Nike will stop producing Manchester United shirts after this upcoming season.

Sources say that the world’s largest shoe and apparel maker told the club on Tuesday that it was bowing out of negotiations to pay for the privilege to make the kit, refusing to match the number put forth by rival Adidas.

As for those numbers, the current murmurings match up with what was floated in May: Adidas will reportedly acquire the rights to manufacture Manchester United’s kits for roughly $100 million per year for 10 years, the Wall Street Journal reports. This number nearly doubles the current highest kit rights deal that has Adidas paying roughly $50 million per year to manufacture Real Madrid’s uniforms, ESPN reports.

“Manchester United is a great club with passionate fans,” Nike spokesman Nigel Powell said in a statement to ESPN. “We are proud to have partnered with them for the last 12 years and will continue to sponsor the club until the end of the 2014-15 season. 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. We look forward to a successful final season with the club.”

The Premier League club released its latest and final kit design from Nike on Monday.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne | July 8