Man U buys out DHL sponsorship to secure more cash

ROB HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Manchester United has bought out its sponsorship deal with DHL early in a bid to secure more cash for the rights to its training kit.

United is in the second year of a four-year 40 million pound ($64 million) deal with the express delivery and freight firm.

But United believes that sponsorship is worth more after General Motors' Chevrolet division agreed earlier this year to sponsor the club's main shirts for $559 million over seven years.

"We have successfully negotiated an early buyout of our training kit agreement with DHL effective 30 June 2013," United, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, announced within a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Thursday.

DHL, which is a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Post AG, became the first training kit sponsor of an English football team in August 2011.

"The significantly increased value of agreements concluded since entering into this agreement, such as our recent $559 million world record shirt sponsorship with General Motors, leads us to believe that there should be strategic opportunities to further optimize the value of these rights," United said.

United, which is owned by the Glazer family, who also control the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been steadily raising cash through innovative sponsorship agreements.

United's commercial revenue grew 13.7 percent to a record 117.6 million pounds ($188.4 million) in 2011-12.