Football: Manchester United agree record $1.6b adidas deal

LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester United have agreed a record 750 million pounds (S$1.6 billion) deal with Adidas for the German sportswear company to supply shirts and kit to the former English football champions.

The 10-year deal announced on Monday is a world record for a football club and is more than double the 31 million pounds-a-year contract adidas was reported to have with Spanish side Real Madrid, previously the biggest deal.

Its total value is also just 40 million pounds less than United's American owners, the Glazer family, paid for the club in 2005.

Nike, the world's largest sportswear group, had sponsored United since 2002 but earlier this month pulled out of a bidding war with adidas, meaning that the 2014-15 season will be its last as a partner of the 20-times English champions.

Adidas, which also has similar deals with elite European clubs including England's Chelsea, Germany's Bayern Munich and Italy's AC Milan, takes over the contract from 2015-16.

The deal with one of the world's most popular teams is a coup for the German firm, protecting its leading position in a football market in which Nike has made strong inroads over the last 20 years.

Its lucrative value also underlines United's pulling power despite a dismal last season - its first without influential manager Alex Ferguson who retired after 26 years in May 2013 - finishing seventh in the league and missing out on a Champions League spot.

Nike was also recently replaced by United's league rivals Arsenal, who have signed a kit supplier deal with Germany's Puma, the third-ranked company in the market, worth a reported 30 million pounds a year.

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