Man U's commercial partners are in it for the chance to score
Even though Manchester United is by far the world's most popular football club, with 600million fans, securing sponsorship deals is not an easy sell.
There's nothing charitable about selling sponsorships for Alex Ferguson's Red Devils; it's all about commercial partnerships that score. So says the man responsible for directing Man U's global sponsorships.
Casper Stylsvig was in Dublin to brief marketers at An Post's Early Bird breakfast. The Dane, who joined United from Barcelona five years ago, says the media are always interested in what goes on at Old Trafford. If things get quiet, he can always ask a player to crash a Ferrari, he said jokingly.
With half of United's fanbase in Asia, the club has signed up Chevrolet to replace Aon Insurance as shirt sponsor from 2014. The US carmaker aims to develop its business in China. The fifth shirt deal in Man U's 134-year history could net €357m. The club has seen revenue grow by 250pc in the past five years.
Global partners such as Nike, Toshiba, DHL and Epson enjoy sole rights to big-match digital perimeter ads and there are 7,000 tickets for corporate guests.
Soccer legends like Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson help with product launches and corporate gigs. Stylsvig says his most trying days at Man Utd were when shirt sponsor AIG entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.
While there are 22million players in the US, soccer must compete with cash-rich American football. When asked about the chances of Pep Guardiola taking over from Fergie (pictured) when the 71-year-old Glaswegian retires, Stylsvig replied coyly: "Your guess is as good as mine."