An Inside Look At Manchester United's Financials — And Its Sponsors

manchester unitedFans at Old Trafford.

Photo: Paulo Camera / Flickr, CC

It’s been a heck of a week for Manchester United.First it unveiled a staggering $559 million sponsorship pact with General Motors that will place the Chevy logo on the team’s shirts in 2014—one of the largest in football.

Then the GM marketer who struck that deal, Joel Ewanick, was ousted from the company after whistleblowers claimed he hid its details from management.

And then, on Friday, the club went public on the stock exchange. As a result, all United’s most recent financial information—including the budgets of its various sponsors—was made public in disclosures with the SEC.

Among those disclosures: That United does not have 659 million fans, as it has previously claimed.

This slideshow hits the highlights of United’s business in terms of sponsors, TV broadcasting, social media presence, mobile advertising, and its debts and taxes.

United has a lot of fans. Its Facebook following has grown and grown.

This is United's total sponsorship revenue growth over the last three years. When the GM contract kicks in, revenue will be more than double the 2010 fiscal year.

These are the average annual payments for recent shirt sponsorship contracts. In 2014, General Motors will begin paying $70 million a year for the shirt, up to a total of $559 million.

Here are all United's different sponsors.

This is the number of countries with MU Mobile Service, by year. Fans who sign up get news and video clips—and sponsored content.

This is United's mobile revenue growth. This is impressive, given how nascent the mobile ad economy is.

United needs that revenue — and its IPO — for this reason: It is heavily indebted. The club says that before the IPO its total indebtedness was £423.3 million, and that after the IPO it expects debt to be reduced to £345.4 million. Its total liabilities are just over £600 million.

United trades its players like stocks. Here are its net expenditures on players in the last 15 years. It made money in only two years. The big gain in 2009 was probably the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, for £80 million. United said it expects to spend £50 million net in 2012.

And the results of those trades: These are United's finishes in the English Premier League. Not bad!

United is now based in the Cayman Islands, not Manchester. This is for tax purposes, and the company expects to pay income tax to the U.S.

Here's its corporate structure:

Surprise, surprise: The Glazer family—which controls United's stock—has loaned itself £10 million from United's coffers over the years.

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