Despite coming off their worst season in 20 years, Manchester United have signed a 10-year technical partnership with Adidas for a record £750 million ($1.28 billion). And that's just the minimum. According to ESPN, this is the largest deal is sports licensing history.
There was some level of surprise when Nike announced it would not pursue a renewal, citing the club's high asking price. But it turns out the record 20-time champions were asking for so much because someone was willing to pay it.
Adidas will not begin making Man United's kits until the 2015/16 season, since the current Nike deal runs through the end of this season. Paying out at least £75 million per season, the MUFC-Adidas deal dwarfs the deal Arsenal announced in January that has Puma paying £30 million ($51 million) a season for the next five years to be the London club's kitmaker.
It's a bold piece of business of Adidas, especially since it comes a day after two Adidas sponsored teams faced each other in the Adidas sponsored World Cup final that was followed by Adidas sponsored Lionel Messi winning the Adidas sponsored Golden Ball.
In a statement announcing the partnership, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said, "At the same time, this collaboration marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential. We expect total sales to reach 1.5 billion GBP ($2.5 billion) during the duration of our partnership.”
Here's the final Nike home kit Manchester United will wear this season (complete with new Chevrolet shirt sponsorship worth $560 million over seven years)...