Fri 3rd Aug 2012 | Marketing & PR
Posted by: Aaron Gourley
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) have called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsors’ products, in opposition to the club’s proposed IPO.
MUST have been strongly opposed to the Glazer family’s ownership which has left the club £430million in debt and has cost it a further £520million in fees and debt repayments.
The planned IPO was initially intended to raise funds and to use all those proceeds to pay down some of the debt but in a u-turn the Glazer family now plan to take half the proceeds for themselves.
The boycott strategy is intended to send a clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that without the support and purchasing power of the fans - the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn’t actually exist.
It is also hoped the companies advising the Glazers on the IPO, and potential investors themselves will recognise that without the full support of fans going forward there are too many uncertainties in meeting the IPO prospectus’ claims on revenue streams.
A spokesman for MUST commented: “Essentially the IPO is bad for investors, the club and the fans.
“The Glazer family sell the rights to our loyalty and devotion for the club to sponsors for many millions but then use that money to pay off their self imposed debt”.
“It has to stop and we want the IPO shelved and a proper fan ownership model put in place – one share, one vote”.
“Our actions are no different to the marketing tactics used by all the clubs sponsors anyway – we’re just executing it in another way. Their efforts are mostly about brand switching and ours are too – we’re just saying more overtly - don’t use those sponsors products – and the sample of fans we’ve spoken to around the world believe this is the right approach”.
“Even without this approach, allowing the Glazer’s to continue running the club unchecked is bad news for sponsors. Less funds for the club (because of servicing current debt levels) means less investment in the team and that could impact on sponsors being associated with a winning, successful team. That would be like sponsors watching their own ROI diminish”.