Manchester United are set to more than double the current record for a kit deal when they tie up a £300 million contract with Nike, according to reports in England.
The Sun (subscription required) claim, in a story repeated by the Daily Mail, that not only does it dwarf the existing record, held by Real Madrid and Adidas, but it also could be worth still more than the headline figure:
It is double the current most lucrative deal - Real Madrid's £31m-a-year tie-up with Adidas - and it could be announced on Friday.
United have also reportedly been granted sales rights for their kits, which could be worth another £15m per year, which could see the five-year deal worth a total of £375 million.
The current Nike deal was reported at £303m for the 13 years, and with this extension which will run for five-years reported at £300m, should it end up running for the same amount of time, it could bring the club close to £1 billion in revenue.
The Daily Mirror sounds a note of caution on the deal being a record, claiming that Adidas and Chelsea have struck a deal of equal value. While the amount earned is roughly the same, however, Chelsea's deal is stretched over 10 years, according to the same paper earlier in the summer.
United may be struggling on the field in relative terms under David Moyes this season, but commercially their record of lucrative tie-ins, sponsorships and partnerships is unparallelled in football.
Are Manchester United:
So long was the list that in April Eurosport ran a quiz asking how many of United's 33 sponsors people could actually name.
The list includes an official responsible drinking partner (not to be confused with either the official beer nor the official wine), an official medical systems partner and even an official noodles partner.
As the original report in the Mail puts it:
United's massive commercial arm, which will shortly boast an office in New York, in addition to the one that was opened in Hong Kong last year, now represents 42 per cent of total revenue, with sponsorship deals alone in 2012 amounting to £90.9m, a rise of 44.1 per cent.
Fans will expect that some of the money generated in commercial deals is now ploughed back into the team.
A disappointing summer in the transfer market saw only one significant arrival—Marouane Fellaini joining in a £27.5 million deal.