Yes… This could happen, particularly after belatedly reading a very interesting article in Salon about the impending IPO of Manchester United (It was written five days before the event.) Read the whole thing over a pint of Boddingtons, and tell me if you don’t see striking similarities between what’s happening in football, and what’s happened in advertising… Here are a couple of tasters…
In 2005, when the Glazer family of Miami, landed in the North of England, Manchester United was a publicly traded company, which was thriving both on and off the field. The club had healthy profits and was generating a good amount of cash—one of the surest measures of a well-managed business. Best of all Manchester United had enough cash on hand to eliminate almost all its borrowings. All this changed after the Glazers, veteran corporate raiders who also owned the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, took the business private and loaded it with debt. The corporate agenda suddenly changed, as it does with all leveraged buyouts. Instead of operating the business for the benefit of all its constituents—customers, employees, management and shareholders—two new groups had to be satisfied: the new controlling shareholders (in this case the Glazers) and the banks.
During the last four years, the club has paid $792 million in interest and other finance costs, which is more than has been spent on the purchase of players during the past 20 years. Imagine if that money had either been spent on investments in the future health of the company instead of making payments to the banks and the Glazers, Today Manchester United is imprisoned by debt. The club has a further $1 fucking billion that comes due in the next 220 weeks. Fuck… I wonder if Sorrell and the Glazers are drinking buddies?
Fuck football... From now on, it's beach volleyball!