Why Manchester United are targeting US for next cash injection
Manchester United revealed their latest financial results on Wednesday, as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced record revenue levels of $696 million for the 2013-14 financial year.
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All the details of their financial records can be found here, as United have yet to feel the financial hit from their worst-ever Premier League finish in 2013-14.
That said, their success off the field continues to grow and their brand was certainly big news this summer in the USA.
During United’s preseason tour of the U.S., they set a record for the highest-ever attendance for a soccer game in the U.S. against Real Madrid at Michigan Stadium with 109,318 fans attending. Their commercial success continued across the U.S. as the Red Devils’ brand appeared to be thriving Stateside this summer.That’s something Woodward and the clubs marketing staff have latched on to and in a briefing about the clubs recent financial results, the leading man at Old Trafford had the following to say about United’s growth, and that of soccer in general, in the USA.
“I’d like to talk about the exciting emerging market that is the US. We seem to be in the midst of a step-chance at the moment with football or soccer breaking into the mainstream sporting consciousness. Clearly that’s been aided by the recent World Cup in Brazil and performance of the national team there and the [advent] of football-themed video games.
“We played five matches there to a cumulative audience of more than 360,000. The US attendance record which we set in Michigan of 109,000 is higher than any SuperBowl or World Series in history, and was a record that stood for 30 years.
“There are some interesting statistics that show the growing potential of the US as a market for football. American supporters bought 197,000 tickets for the 2014 World Cup, trailing only local fans. The World Cup is the most widely streamed sporting event ever in US history with over 30m live viewing hours, over double the streaming of the 2012 Olympics.
“Manchester United was the most watched club on NBC last year despite our challenging season. We have a very strong brand in the US and as the game continues to grow we are well-positioned to benefit.”
So, in short: video games, World Cup success, large crowds this summer and NBC viewing figures (shameless plug) are the reasons United are racking in the cash.
Louis van Gaal shared his displeasure at the club flying from LA to Denver, Washington to Michigan and spending most of the summer overseas. However, it sounds like plenty more U.S. tours could be on the horizon for the Red Devils as they target the American market for rapid commercial growth.