English Premier League giants Manchester United are setting up shop in the United States.
The Red Devils, who are owned by the US-based Glazer family, revealed their 2013 financial report yesterday and made it loud and clear that the United States will be one of their primary targets for expansion.
"It's under-penetrated," Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said on the earnings conference call (listen to it here). "Very, very big media market. The most developed sports market in the world. I think in particular from a merchandise perspective, that stands out as the biggest in the world relative to Europe."
Woodward indicated that the club has plans to open an office in the United States and that they continue "tracking a lot of research in the US" including TV ratings, which show the sport has taken off for good.
"We believe there has been a inflection point, possibly 2010-2011, where the interest levels in football have increased [in the USA]," Woodward continued. "So it's moving away from being a niche sport and much more moving into a territory of competing with the top sports in the country. We've seen research done, for example, that shows it's the second most popular sport to watch on television for 12- to 24-year-olds within the United States.
"We are encouraged by the statistics and potential for growth in the US market."
Manchester United are set to debut a jersey sponsorship deal with US auto giant Chevrolet, and they are in negotiations with American sports apparel giant Nike about extending its current kit deal.