Another U.S. Insurance Company To Sponsor Manchester United

Manchester United, the soccer club owned by the U.S. investor Malcolm Glazer, will replace the three-letter logo of one American insurer, now emblazoned on players’ shirts, with the three-letter logo of another.

The British Premier League team said Wednesday that it had signed on

Aon, an insurer, reinsurer and consulting company based in Chicago, as its principal sponsor, starting in the 2010-11 season, The New York Times’s Eric Pfanner reported. Aon will replace the

American International Group, or A.I.G., which chose not to renew its sponsorship after the company fell victim to the credit crunch and was bailed out by the U.S. government.

Neither Aon nor Manchester United would say how much the four-year deal was worth, but it is believed to be the most lucrative in soccer — about £20 million, or $32.5 million, a year — a substantial increase from the £14 million that A.I.G. was paying.

“They are the brand that everyone wants to associate with,” Nigel Currie, director of Brand Rapport, a sponsorship agency in Guildford, England, told The Times.

David Gill, chief executive of Manchester United, told The Times that the deal “clearly strengthens our position as one of the biggest clubs in world football.”

The deal was signed in Rome last week, just before Manchester United lost to Barcelona, a team without a commercial shirt sponsor, in the final of the European Champion’s League. Barcelona actually pays the charity Unicef $2 million a year as part of a five-year deal for the right to wear the Unicef logo on its jerseys. Manchester finished atop the English Premier League this year, for the 11th time in 17 seasons.

Greg Case, chief executive of Aon, told The Times that the company was attracted by Manchester United’s big fan base across Asia, where Aon hopes to grow in the coming years. Through sales of replica shirts to fans, he said, the deal would give Aon millions of “walking billboards.”

Manchester United reportedly had held talks with a number of other brands, including companies based in Asia or the Middle East. The fact that it settled on another U.S. insurer to replace A.I.G. was coincidental, Mr. Case said.

“We’re delighted to keep it in the industry,” he told The Times. “What you see is the globality of the insurance industry and the risk advice industry.”

The deal also reinforces Manchester United’s ties to U.S. business, a proximity that has irked some local fans since the takeover of the club by Mr. Glazer in 2005.

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Go to Press Release from Aon »

Source : https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/manchester-united-signs-aon-to-replace-aig-as-sponsor/