Manchester City, owned by a billionaire member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, signed a six-year agreement with Nike Inc. to have the world’s largest sporting-goods maker supply the soccer team’s uniforms.
Nike will replace Umbro from the start of the 2013-14 season, the Premier League club said in a statement. Umbro is a unit of Nike.
“We are delighted to have further strengthened our relations with the Nike family,” John MacBeath, City’s interim chief executive, said, adding “this is a very important step in the evolution of Manchester City.”
Garry Cook, who resigned after three years as City’s chief executive in September, worked at Nike before joining the club. Since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought City in 2008, he’s spent about $1 billion to lift the club from under the shadow of cross-town rival Manchester United and establish it as one of Europe’s biggest teams.
That spending has attracted some of soccer’s biggest stars such as Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Sergio Aguero and also criticism from rivals like Liverpool owner John W. Henry.
The team has been trying to secure better commercial contracts to stem losses that may lead to a breach of European soccer’s new fiscal restrictions that seek to match expenditure to income. City’s $312-million loss announced last year was the biggest in English soccer.
The Nike contract follows a 10-year stadium naming rights and infrastructure sponsorship agreement with Abu Dhabi’s national airline Etihad worth about 350 million pounds. Neither Nike or City disclosed the financial terms of the deal.
City, which won its last English league title in 1968, tops the Premier League standings on goal difference over Manchester United with two games remaining in the season.