Just days after Nike and Manchester United revealed a beautiful new kit (that unfortunately features an oversized eyesore of a sponsor logo), a new report from Reuters says that the two parties will go their separate ways sooner rather than later. Nike and United first partnered in 2002, at the conclusion of a decade-long deal with Umbro.
The kit deal that Puma and Arsenal signed earlier this year saw the Gunners leapfrog the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United in annual revenue from technical sponsors. As such, it seemed like the right time for United to renegotiate in hopes of increasing the amount of money coming in. In terms of shirts sold, Manchester United sell roughly 50% more than Arsenal do and are currently at the top of the list, just above Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
In 2012/13, Manchester United received about £38 million from Nike for the right to manufacture kits with a red devil on them. Reports indicate that a new deal, a result of a bidding war between Nike, adidas, and Warrior, would drive that price up to £60 million per year. While Nike have the ability to spend the money with a clause in the current deal that allows them to match the highest offer on the table in order to retain the business but it doesn't seem like they want to.
While Manchester United represents a significant part of Nike's annual replica shirt sales, they will retain FC Barcelona. Nike have also recently acquired the business of AS Roma and AS Monaco, among others.
Nike's withdrawal should open the door for adidas to take over United's kits once more. adidas previously manufactured the Red Devils' kits from 1980 to 1992, having taken over Admiral before being succeeded by Umbro.