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Manchester United boosted as Ronaldo shirt sales soar

CR7 fever sees shirt sales soar, meanwhile, United move closer to naming Ed Woodward successor.

Manchester United -
Image credit: ph.FAB / Shutterstock

Manchester United Plc reportedly rung up £32.5mln of shirt sales in only 12 hours after Cristiano Ronaldo shirts went on sale this weekend.

The Ronaldo shirts, with the iconic number 7, set a new record as ‘the fastest-selling shirt online in the premier league’.

It comes after the Premier League granted special dispensation for United to reshuffle their registered squad numbers, allowing Ronaldo to takeover the number already worn this season by teammate Edison Cavani (something that’s not ordinarily allowed once a ball’s been kicked in competition).

Evidently, United anticipated more than 32mln reasons to seek the bending of the Premier League rule and, undoubtedly this will only be the beginning of the commercial exercises with Ronaldo now back at Old Trafford.

Kit maker Adidas is the real winner out of the shirt-swapping victory - as they effectively pay United its share of shirt revenues upfront as part of a 10-year deal, agreed in 2014, which was worth up to £750mln - nonetheless, the club is believed to receive an additional commission of round 10% per shirt.

Ronaldo is expected to make his second Manchester United debut this Saturday, nearly 12 years after leaving the club for Real Madrid.

Unfortunately for TV rights holders BT Group PLC (LSE:BT.A) and Sky a similar trick could not be pulled in order to switch-up the broadcast schedule to include the live coverage of Ronaldo’s return.

The TV schedule was already set before United’s transfer deadline-day recapture of Cristiano Ronaldo and Britain’s archaic Saturday 3pm broadcast blackout means that viewers in the UK will be the only football fans worldwide that can’t legally watch Saturday’s game against Newcastle United.

Instead, the BBC will likely expect a huge audience for Match of the Day.

In Ireland, the fixture is being broadcast on Premier Sports for Sky TV subscribers meanwhile global Premier League rights holders including beIN Sports (Middle East), DAZN (Spain, Canada), Tencent (China), and NBC (United States) will all be able to broadcast live.

The CR7 circus curiously provides some public relations cover for a potentially controversial boardroom change at Manchester United, as one Glazer family appointee takes the reins from another.

Richard Arnold, group managing director, who has steered United commercial team from offices in Mayfair, is said to be favoured by the club’s Floridian owners as the replacement for vice-chairman Ed Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) who handed in his resignation earlier this year amid heated fan protests and the failed European Super League.

Arnold could be confirmed as United’s new c-suite leader in the UK in the coming weeks according to Sky Sports, which over this past weekend said the boardroom change would come at a time of renewed optimism due to Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford.

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