Manchester United stadium
Songquan Deng /

MoPlay Sued by Man United Over Unpaid Sponsorship

In August of last year, the bookmaker MoPlay thought that it had hit the big time when it announced a deal to take over from MarathonBet as the global betting partner of Manchester United. Now it looks as though that dream has turned into a nightmare, with the Red Devils filing a civil complaint worth $11 million for defaulted payments on two parts of a 12-part payment plan that the company signed.

Because of the complicated nature of the finances, Manchester United are actually filing against the guarantors of MoPlay, with the suit filed a few days ago. That means that it is Select Management Resources, as well as the company’s founder, Roderick Aycox, that are in the spotlight. The firm is a pay-day lender, boasting more than 650 stores across 21 states in America.

MoPlay, Manchester United & Watford

MoPlay was launched by its parent company, Addison Global Limited, in August of 2018. Almost immediately, the new bookmaker secured a deal to become the betting partner of Manchester United, following it up soon after with a deal to also represent Watford. The two Premier League sides would give the bookmaker plenty of advertising space in return for the money involved in the deal.

In the case of Watford, this involved having a MoPlay advertising patch on their shirt sleeves. This is all because Addison Global wanted to establish MoPlay as a big player in the British gambling market, which is worth billions on a yearly basis. Having two Premier League clubs in their stable, with one of them being one of the most famous teams in world football, would certainly have helped with those ambitions.

The Gibraltar-based Addison Global Limited is responsible for MoPlay and its associated betting app. Though the deals with Manchester United and Watford are no more, the company still has a deal in place with Hertha Berlin. The deal with the Bundesliga club is worth approximately €1 million, or $1.1 million dollars, a year. As things stand, it’s unclear whether Hertha will continue the partnership.

What Has Happened

Football clubs have long used official betting partners to bring in some extra cash, with Manchester United being no exception. Both them and Watford signed deals with MoPlay just last year, with the Red Devils’ deal believed to be worth in the region of £12 million. MoPlay, in return, were able to use Manchester United’s profile as one of the best known football clubs in the world to increase their customer base.

In February and May of this year, however, MoPlay failed to make payments of around £1 million a month to Man United, resulting in the club eventually deciding to terminate the deal between the pair. MoPlay, who are owned by Addison Global Limited, also failed to make an amount of about £1.5 million to Watford. United have also decided to sue the company’s guarantor for $11 million in unpaid sponsorship income.

Aycox is a big player in the world of pay-day lending, with companies such as LoanMax Title Loans coming under his ownership. He’s also a supporter of Donald Trump, being one of the prominent backers of the payday and auto title lenders industry that donated around $1.3 million to the President’s inauguration. Now he finds himself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, liable for a huge amount of money.

The Complicated Relationships

What makes the current situation slightly tricky to understand is the fact that Manchester United aren’t suing either MoPlay or their parent company, Addison Global Limited, directly. Instead, the Red Devils have filed a suit against Select Management Resources, the marketing representative of MoPlay that acted as a guarantor in the deal. That also drags Select’s founder, Roderick Aycox, into the conversation.

The complaint says that there was an agreement between Manchester United and Addison Global Limited that included an interest clause. This clause would come into play in the event that there were any missed payments worth up to £12 million. The allegation is that Addison defaulted on two payments, which were part of the agreement that made up the 12-instalment plan that was set over three years.

Where the $11 Million Comes From

The deals with both Manchester United and Watford were annulled, though the sponsorship agreement was defaulted on before that happened. As a result, the Red Devils are claiming that there is an unpaid balance of more than £9 million owed, as well as an interest of 8.75%. The club is claiming both the amount owed and the interest on top of it, which is where the figure of $11 million has come from.

On top of the money owed, Manchester United are also claiming that they will be owed any costs, including legal fees, by the defendants. It comes in the wake of the Premier League side announced a record £627.1 million in revenues, of which £173 million came from sponsorship. That was thanks to the signing or renewal of ten different deals with other sponsorship partners.