Manchester United, the world’s second-richest sports franchise, signed a three-year sponsorship deal with U.S. watchmaker Bulova, replacing LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA’s Hublot as the club’s official timekeeper.
The agreement allows Bulova, a unit of Japan’s Citizen Watch Co., to place its name on scoreboards at United’s Old Trafford stadium and on advertising hoardings, the companies said today in a statement. Bulova will also take over from Hublot in producing timepieces using the club crest.
Hublot, based in Nyon, Switzerland, had been the club’s official timekeeping partner since 2008 when the parties signed what they said at the time was a “multimillion-pound” agreement. That deal expired at the end of June. Manchester United spokeswoman Kate Lowe declined to comment today on the value of the new partnership, which places Bulova alongside existing sponsors including Aon Plc, Nike Inc. and DHL.
The soccer club, owned by the Glazer family, was impressed by Bulova’s credentials, Lowe said. The New York-based watch company was founded in 1875, three years before Manchester United, and pioneered the fully electronic watch.
“Although from very different industries, Bulova and Manchester United share many common values,” Manchester United Managing Director Richard Arnold said in the statement. “We have both grown to become global leaders in our fields.”
A Hublot clock that was installed in a tower at the entrance to Old Trafford has been removed, Lowe said. LVMH didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Manchester United is worth $3.2 billion, according to the Forbes list of the world’s most valuable sports teams, published in July. That places the franchise second only to Spanish soccer club Real Madrid, valued at $3.3 billion.