Manchester United eyes $600 million deal with Nike

MANCHESTER, England - Sports clothing group Nike is prepared to spend $600 million over about 10 years to keep alive its contract to fit out the British Manchester United football team, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported on Friday.

Manchester United is still one of the most popular and followed teams in the world, despite disappointing results this season.

Nike, which has equipped the team since 2002 under a deal expiring next year, wants to retain rights to the retailing footprint of the Manchester United brand, and to put its boots on the team's feet.

The current contract between the club, known as the "Red Devils" and the Nike brand with its swish logo, runs for 13 years at a cost to Nike of $510 million (374 million euros).

The German sportswear group Adidas, and US company Warrior Sport, with its New Balance brand, which already supplies Manchester United's big rival Liverpool, are also in the running for the contract, the newspaper said, quoting people close to the matter.

Manchester United has finished in seventh place in the English Premier League and has failed to qualify for any European Cup for the first time since 1990.

However, the club raised net profit in the first quarter of the year by 26.0 percent to £10.9 million (13.5 million euros, $18.4 million). -