FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday August 3rd 2012
MANCHESTER UNITED FANS BEGIN GLAZER SPONSORSâ€™ BOYCOTT
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has today (August 3rd) called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsorsâ€™ products, with support across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.
With members in over 100 countries and additional support from locally based fans groups in places such as India, Indonesia and USA MUST has instigated the initiative in response to the planned New York IPO.
All the clubâ€™s sponsors are being targeted and a mailing programme based on the technology used in President Obamaâ€™s previous election campaign is being utilised.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust has strongly opposed the Glazer family ownership which sees 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 loud and 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 doesnâ€™t actually exist.
It is hoped sponsors will put pressure on the Glazer family to reconsider their plans.
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 prospectusâ€™ claims on revenue streams.
A spokesman for MUST commented.
â€œEssentially the IPO is bad for investors, the club and the fans.â€
â€œThe 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 debtâ€.
â€œIt has to stop and we want the IPO shelved and a proper fan ownership model put in place - one share, one voteâ€.
â€œOur actions are no different to the marketing tactics used by all the clubs sponsors anyway - weâ€™re just executing it in another way. Their efforts are mostly about brand switching and ours are too - weâ€™re just saying more overtly - donâ€™t use those sponsors products - and the sample of fans weâ€™ve spoken to around the world believe this is the right approachâ€.
â€œEven without this approach, allowing the Glazerâ€™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 diminishâ€.
Manchester United Football Club sponsors include:
AON, DHL, BWIN, Casillero Del Diablo Wines, Hublot, Smirnoff, Mister Potato, Nike, Chevrolet, Singha Beer, Thomas Cook, Turkish Airlines, Epson, STC, PCCW Telecommunications, GlobalCom, Viva Kuwait, MTN, Airtel, Zong, Globul, TM Telecommunications, Viva Telecommunications, Turk Telekom, A.P. Honda, Airtel Africa, Beeline Telecommunications.
There has been a surge in consumer power recently with shareholder revolts at Aviva, Barclays, Reckitt Benckiser and even marketing services group WPP.
The clothing and retail brand Gap performed a u-turn on a proposed new corporate identity following a customer backlash and the US fast food chain Chick-fil-A is currently experiencing a consumer revolt.