Manchester United has signed an eight-year deal worth nearly $240m with Aon to sponsor the club’s training ground and training kit as the US insurance broker hopes to secure a place in the hearts of the football club’s huge Asian fan base.
Man Utd’s training ground at Carrington will be renamed the Aon Training Complex and Aon replaces DHL as the club’s training kit sponsor.
Aon will pay between $25m and $30m per year illustrating the continuing ability of Premier League teams to attract big investment, andMan Utd’s position as one of the world’s most commercially successful football clubs. It comes within months of the club securing a record $559m seven-season shirt sponsorship deal with General Motors, more than double its previous deal with Aon whose contract to brand Man Utd shirts ends next year.
Man Utd, which floated in New York last year, became the first Premier League team to secure separate sponsorship for their training kit in 2010 after it reached a four-year contract with DHL worth £40m. The football club bought out the contract in October in an attempt to lure in a more lucrative offer.
The new Aon deal, which also includes branding surrounding the club’s tours abroad, is worth almost double the $120m the group spent on the four-year deal to sponsor Man Utd’s shirts in 2009. “It’s a substantial commitment,” said one insider.
Phil Clement, chief marketing officer at Aon, said: “We are continuing to invest very aggressively in the brand.” The insurance broker and human resources group is hoping to continue to deepen its exposure to Man Utd’s large following in Asia.
“We’ve gone from no brand awareness in countries like Japan and South Korea to incredible brand awareness,” said Mr Clement. “It’s been an explosion. What we needed to do was translate that awareness into an understanding of what we do.”
Greg Case, chief executive at Aon, said the two parties had discussed renewing Aon’s shirt deal, but opted instead for the training ground deal. As part of the agreement, the human resources group will provide Man Utd with advice on everything from player data analysis to risk management.
While other clubs, such as Arsenal and Manchester City have sold sponsorship rights to their stadiums rather than training grounds, Man Utd has said it has no plans to rename Old Trafford. Ed Woodward, executive vice-chairman, said: “Old Trafford will not be sold.”
With the club’s new kit contract with Nike up for renewal and expected to bring in anywhere between $90m and $120m annually, the Aon deal means that the football club could receive over $1.5bn in sponsorship alone over the next seven years.
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