Business of Soccer’s Top Stories of 2013

top_stories_2013 copy

2013 was an exciting year for Business of Soccer in terms of analysis, reports, and  news. Below, we break down our biggest stories of the year:


Manchester United Seek to Close Reported $1.57 Billion Nike Kit Deal

Man U's Newest SigningsFollowing one of the more disappointing transfer windows in recent history, Manchester United are seeking to at least improve the club’s financial position with a new Nike kit deal, rumored to be worth a record-breaking £1 billion ($1.57 billion) over 13 years beginning in the 2014/15 season.

To put this deal into perspective, the most expensive kit supplier sponsorship deal currently, according to TSM, is the Adidas/Real Madrid partnership, which is worth an annual $49 million. If United are able to close the new Nike deal for the reported price tag and length of contract, it would be worth an approximate £76.92 million ($121 million) annually. That is 247% more than the Adidas/Real Madrid deal, and 295% (almost 3x) more than United’s current contract with Nike.


Manchester United, Ezequiel Garay and the Case of the Fluctuating Share Price

Photo courtesy of Manchester United.It’s mid-June, which means soccer fans are inundated every day by media reports concerning the on-and-off-field affairs of European clubs. This daily onslaught of rumored deals, transactions and developments — many, if not all, of questionable veracity — is more than enough to keep anyone busy until the major European leagues resume play come fall. Most of these reports are, for lack of a better term, complete hogwash (I’m still waiting for the Melwood press conference where Rafa Benitez unveils the David Villa/David Silva double signing that will finally push Liverpool to the top of the league). But one story that crossed the wire last week was particularly fascinating, in that it concerned concrete facts regarding the finances of one of the game’s largest global brands — and the real-world repercussions reportedly felt from a mere transfer rumor.


Castrol Index and MLS Players Union Salary Data Analyzed

castrol-index-mls copyBusiness of Soccer compared Major League Soccer’s Castrol Index with salary data provided by the MLS Players Union. Donovan Ricketts and Marco Di Vaio tied for first with 810 points.

Castrol worked with Major League Soccer and OPTA to log on average 1,800 player movements per match. Castrol’s team of performance analysts then analyze the data and provide each player a Castrol Index score out of 1,000 – the higher the score the better the player’s performance.

The Castrol Index tracks every move on the field and assesses whether it has a positive or negative impact on a team’s ability to score or concede a goal.


Tottenham, AIA And Tiered Shirt Sponsorship

AIA spursAlmost two weeks ago, on August 15th, Tottenham Hotspur announced a new corporate sponsorship with AIA Group Limited, a pan-asian insurance services provider. At first glance the deal seems like just another partner to add to the seemingly endless list of corporate sponsors that clubs are amassing in an effort to build their sponsorship portfolio and consequently their revenue stream. With Chelsea having an official Asian whiskey partner in Grand Royal Whiskey, and Manchester United having an official noodle and diesel engine partner, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Though the assertion that this deal is simply for revenue is not wide of the mark, what is incredibly interesting about the deal is that AIA has signed on as shirt sponsor. This announcement surely confused some fans considering that Tottenham recently signed a deal with Hewlett Packard to be their home and away jersey sponsor for this 2013/14 season.


FIFA Responds to Potential Challenge to Transfer and Registration Regulations

FIFALast week, Business of Soccer posited that the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the “FIFA Regulations”) may be ripe for challenge in light of footballer Joe Yoffe’s contention that FIFA Regulations, which prohibit out-of-contract players from signing with new clubs if those players’ contracts expire in between transfer windows, unfairly limit players’ freedom of movement and ability to earn a living.

The FIFA Regulations provide, in relevant part, that “Players may only be registered during one of the two annual registration periods fixed by the relevant association. As an exception to this rule, a professional whose contract has expired prior to the end of a registration period may be registered outside that registration period.” As a result, players whose contracts expire outside of an association’s registration period (often referred to as a “transfer window”) may not sign with a new club unless the registration period of the association to which that club belongs is open. In other words, a player like Yoffe, whose contract expires at the end of September, may not be able to sign with a new team until January, when the majority of associations’ transfer windows open.

Reporting on the business side of the world's game.