Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe hoping to cash in on Premier League status after ‘fantastic’ shirt deal

Kevin McCabe and CEO of USG Shay Zakhaim at a press conference at Bramall Lane to reveal USG as Sheffield United's new front of shirt sponsor. Picture Scott Merrylees
Kevin McCabe and CEO of USG Shay Zakhaim at a press conference at Bramall Lane to reveal USG as Sheffield United's new front of shirt sponsor. Picture Scott Merrylees
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SHEFFIELD UNITED co-owner Kevin McCabe is confident the club’s record shirt sponsorship deal with global multi-asset broker Union Standard Group (USG) will open doors to further lucrative agreements with international firms.

The Sydney-based company has signed a three-year partnership deal with Premier League new boys United.

It is the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history and while its worth has not been revealed, it is described as ‘significant’.

Hailing the announcement, McCabe, currently embroiled in an ownership battle in the High Court with Prince Abdullah Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz – with the pair each owning 50 per cent stakes in the club – said: “It is a record-breaking deal for United. Compared to deals we have had in the Championship, it must be 20-fold (bigger). It is a fantastic deal.

“Sponsorships have changed. What we need is the spin-off and having USG as our shirt sponsor should and will – due to the connections they have – bring other sponsors from other countries, whether it is to our ladies’ football, academy football or international sponsorship of the stand. You hear Premiership football is worth £170m; that is the combined broadcasting income plus seeing your corporate sponsors going from one level to another.

“That has to be achieved by us more and more. The first exhibit of that is this shirt sponsor.

“I think for us and the club, it is about learning what we have now got in Premier League football to make even more from corporate sponsorships, which are principally for international rather than national (companies), (although) not in all cases.

“It is a learning curve – we have got to get our skates on. We must not lose the opportunity as it comes because we are in one league. So lets get five or six more deals like this one and (then) you have got a lot more money for players.”

McCabe believes that the Blades’ cachet around the globe has inexorably risen overnight following their return to the top-flight after a 12-year absence, with the level of interest snowballing following the club’s promotion feats last term. He added: “The minute we were promoted, we had people on the phone. It did not take long. Then it was really talking (and) comparing notes to get the feel for what we should be aiming to achieve.

“We could have had maybe another dozen to look at if we wanted to. But we got there in a deal that is cracking for the club. I think we really can help USG. I was abroad last week in the Far East and everyone talks football. Before, when I would go there, they would talk football with me because they know I own a club. Now, because of the impact of the Premier League, they want to do something with it.”

The Blades start their Premier League adventure at Bournemouth on August 10, with McCabe hoping that the Blades can emulate the likes of the Cherries and Burnley in consolidating in the top-flight over time.

Should United achieve that, club bosses could revisit plans to increase the capacity of Bramall Lane further down the line.

McCabe added: “Consolidation in the Premier League would take a three-year cycle.

“We know damn well if we expand Bramall Lane now, we have got the consent.

“We could sell out all of the Bramall Lane (stand) upper and lower tier to your Newcastles, the Manchesters (City and United), Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – virtually the whole of the Premier League – so you would have 10,000 (away) supporters and then you would have 30,000 of our supporters. When do you take the plunge? When you consolidate and when you have got a healthy cash balance sheet, which is not going to take away money required to keep you up among the upper echelon.”