Aon to Sponsor Manchester Utd. Training Ground, Kit Through 2021Tariq Panja
Manchester United agreed to an eight-year contract with Aon Plc to become the first training-ground sponsor of the record 19-time English soccer champion.
The insurer will have its logo on United’s training uniform through 2021, while the club’s Carrington training center will be known as the Aon Training Complex from July 1. United and Aon declined to provide financial details of the accord.
The deal may be worth as much 125 million pounds, Nigel Currie, managing director of U.K.-based marketing adviser BrandRapport, said in a telephone interview.
“It is realistic because it’s Manchester United,” said Currie, who negotiated a previous shirt sponsorship deal for United with Vodafone Group Plc. “Nobody else can do what they can do.”
Aon in August enters the final season of a four-year, 80 million-pound ($122.7 million) contract as the sponsor of United’s main game jerseys. The insurer will be replaced by General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand from the start of the 2014-15 season. The carmaker is paying $559 million over seven seasons.
Aon will also be the partner of the team’s preseason tours and business network, according to an e-mailed statement from United. The Red Devils will play exhibition matches in Bangkok, Sydney, Yokohama, Osaka and Hong Kong in July.
United, which is 15 points clear atop the Premier League as it seeks a 20th English championship, bought back its training uniform sponsorship rights from Deutsche Post AG’s DHL, which was in the middle of a four-year, 40 million-pound contract.
United’s commercial operation has grown since it was revamped by Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co banker, in 2008.
The deal with DHL, announced in August 2011, was the first time a major soccer team sold apparel rights to a sponsor other than the one on the team’s playing jersey.
The sale of naming rights to Carrington also is a first for the Premier League.
United in February said commercial revenue in its fiscal second-quarter through December rose 29 percent to 35.6 million pounds, including a 49 percent rise in sponsorships after the club agreed to six new deals.
Shares in Manchester United have climbed 19 percent to $16.69 since its owners, the U.S.-based Glazer family, raised $233 million in August by selling 10 percent of the 135-year-old club at $14 per share on the New York Stock Exchange.
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