Kiwi-founded firm Laybuy signs on as Manchester United sponsor

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Laybuy has signed on as an official partner of the Manchester United football club.

While the logo Kiwi brand will not appear on the iconic shirts of the Red Devils, the five-year partnership will allow fans of the club to buy merchandise at the famous Manchester United Megastore in Old Trafford stadium and spread their payments with weekly interest-free instalments over six weeks.

Laybuy managing director Gary Rohloff founded the company around the kitchen table with his wife and son around three and half years ago.

An avid football fan, Rohloff says that he has supported Manchester United since playing in the team’s strip during school days.

He may not have ever risen to the professional playing ranks, but he described the sponsorship deal as a “dream come true.”

Asked how much he paid for the privilege of an association with Manchester United, Rohloff wouldn’t comment, saying only that he “considers it as great value.”

As part of the partnership, Laybuy will look to further integrate its offering across a number of the club’s other retail platforms in 2021.

Ticketing is not available via Laybuy at launch, but the team is eyeing some future possibilities in this space.

Rohloff views the Manchester deal as an important strategic move for the company to get name recognition and visibility in the UK market.

Rohloff says the business always had global aspirations, but he never imagined the possibility of calling up Manchester United and working with them.

He has previously also signed a deal with Manchester United neighbours Manchester City.

Rohloff has been pushing its global expansion hard since the launch of the company.

Laybuy now has more than 5500 merchants signed up to use its service in New Zealand where it has 40 staff, as well as a presence in Australia. And it is on a strong growth trajectory in Britain where the market is double the size of New Zealand and Australia combined.

Signing a deal with the red half of Manchester is a major coup for the company.

Manchester United is ranked as one of the three most valuable football clubs in the world, alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The English club was last year valued at US$3.65 billion (NZ$5.5 billion) and is widely considered as one of the smartest commercial operators in the industry.

Sponsoring the club does not come cheap. Chevrolet, for instance, forked out US$559m in 2012 for a seven-year privilege of having its logo plastered across the front of the team jersey.

Meanwhile, Adidas pays £75 million (NZ$146 million) per annum for its kit deal with the club. Many of these partnerships are, however, contingent on the performance of the team.

The Sun paper reports that if Manchester United had failed to qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four of the league last season, this would have shaved £25 million off the Adidas deal.

Laybuy shares were trading at A$1.67 around 1pm on Friday. It had an initial public offer (IPO) price of A$1.41.

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