Manchester United, one of the world’s most popular football clubs,
is putting its famous Megastore online, giving millions of overseas fans
the chance to buy official merchandise.
The move follows a sponsorship deal with software company Lotus, which
is working on an e-commerce programme. The club has also signed a
sponsorship deal with Sun Microsystems, which will supply server
The online shop, to be launched during the Charity Shield weekend in
August, will offer more than 800 products, ranging from replica kits to
mugs, lampshades and bedspreads. It will also feature programming
schedules for MUTV, the club’s new satellite TV channel.
The store will form part of the revamped official Man Utd site, at
manutd.com, which launches in August. The site will include newly
released historical information on the 120-year-old club and will
shortly reveal a number of new sponsors.
Unlike many e-commerce sites the store will be entirely electronic,
involving no paper transactions, meaning greater efficiency and a more
detailed database for future marketing. The aim is to make the site a
one-stop shop for serious fans. There are currently more than 50
The club is anticipating a huge number of transactions on the site from
its four million UK fans and countless others abroad.
The Megastore, at the club’s ground at Old Trafford, has been expanded
three times since opening in 1994. Merchandising, through both its
stores and its highly profitable mail-order service, accounts for pounds
15.6m of the club’s pounds 51.6m turnover.
The site will contain both Man Utd and sponsors’ branding and will be
promoted through banner ads and a national radio campaign.
IBM-owned Lotus, which recently began its first major brand-building
campaign, has been involved in sports sponsorship for years, including
NBA basketball and Everest expeditions.
Hamish Kuzminski, Lotus’s public relations and analysis manager, said:
’The decision to sponsor a Premiership team reflects the fact that
football has become more gentrified, although it has not lost its appeal