ManU and insurer Aon have agreed to an eight-year extension of their sponsorship through '21. The renewed deal includes naming rights to the club's training facility, which becomes the Aon Training Complex. ManU players and coaches will wear Aon-branded training kits at matches and practice sessions, and Aon also will serve as presenting partner of all ManU preseason tours, including Tour 2013 presented by Aon in Asia Pacific (ManU). In London, Mark Ogden reported the deal is worth £180M ($274M) for Aon to "sponsor the club's training kit and rename Carrington as the Aon Training Complex." Having bought out their £10M-a-year training-kit deal ($15M) with DHL last year, ManU has "given further evidence" of its commercial appeal by "striking the lucrative agreement" with Aon. In '14, Aon's £25M-a-year ($38M) shirt sponsorship deal is set to be replaced by a £53M ($80M) annual package with Chevrolet. ManU is also close to announcing a deal worth £100M ($152M) with a leading airline "following the end of their agreement with Turkish Airlines" (TELEGRAPH, 4/7).
MAKING A COMMITMENT: In London, Duncan Robinson reported the Aon deal is worth almost double the $120M the group spent on the four-year deal to sponsor ManU’s shirts in '09. One insider said, “It’s a substantial commitment.” Aon CMO Phil Clement said, “We are continuing to invest very aggressively in the brand. We’ve gone from no brand awareness in countries like Japan and South Korea to incredible brand awareness. It’s been an explosion" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/8). The BBC's David Bond reported the move will "lead to concerns from some United supporters that the club's American owners, the Glazer Family, will now seek to cash in again by selling the lucrative naming rights for Old Trafford." However, ManU Exec Vice-Chair Ed Woodward insisted, "Old Trafford will not be sold." ManU sources added that the Glazers see Old Trafford as the "heart and soul" of the club and "do not want to do anything that might jeopardise that" (BBC, 4/8). In London, Simon Stone wrote the fact that ManU has “added friendly matches” into the contract is “intriguing as it means from their 2014 tour, they will be wearing two different companies on their kit” (INDEPENDENT, 4/8).
STICKING TO THE PLAN: In London, Rory Smith wrote, "Such commercial deals are a core part of the ownership strategy" implemented by the Glazer family when they took over in '05. United "now have partners for everything" -- Concha y Toro do the alcoholic beverages, Honda the motorcycles and Mr. Potato the savory snacks, and the joke doing the rounds on Twitter Monday was that even Manager Alex Ferguson’s "famed hairdryer would soon be brought to you by Babyliss." What is in the deals for the club’s commercial partners "is not immediately clear, but that does not appear to make the prospect of a tie-in with one of the world’s most recognisable brands any the less appealing." But what is in it for the owners and the club "is more obvious." The $180M in sponsorship and merchandising revenue allows the club "to go toe-to-toe with the likes of [Manchester] City and Chelsea, although some way short of Bayern Munich, the leaders in the field" (LONDON TIMES, 4/9).
Australian football "continues to kick goals" after pay-TV provider Foxtel and Football Federation Australia "formed a partnership" in which Foxtel will inject A$20M ($20.8M) into the development of a grassroots program to encourage more kids to play the sport, according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Australian, was on hand as the two organizations announced the four-year deal, in which Australian national football player Tim Cahill "will play a significant role via the Foxtel Ambition Program." Under the deal, Foxtel "will also be the naming-rights sponsor for the A-League All-Stars," who will play ManU in front of a sell-out crowd of 82,000 at ANZ Stadium on July 24. The company will also sponsor the National Youth League (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/9). NEWS LTD.'s Tom Smithies wrote that the A$20M program "will have two strands: the All-Stars Academy, a free program of two-day clinics for 1,000 kids across the country, and the All-Stars Ambition tour, where 30 potential stars will be selected for a week-long exposure to elite football." Cahill's coaching clinics will "be used to roll out the Academy program, with the Socceroo to be one of the faces of the initiative." Asked whether it was a statement of intent that should worry the other codes, FFA CEO David Gallop was "unequivocal in welcoming the challenge." Gallop said, "Absolutely, it's not a matter of whether they should be. I'm sure they are" (NEWS LTD., 4/9).
Omega has signed Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, giving the world’s No. 2 golfer a watch deal to replace Audemars Piguet and giving Omega a giant win over one of its chief competitors in the luxury watch category. Switzerland-based Omega, also a PGA of America corporate partner, counts Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie among its ambassadors. Terms of McIlroy’s deal were not available, but industry insiders said watch deals typically range from the low- to mid-six figures, based on the stature of the player. McIlroy would be at the high end of that range, and the deal likely includes a combination of cash, product and incentive. He will be used year-round in Omega’s print and TV advertising and social media, said Omega President Stephen Urquhart. Omega keeps the momentum going for McIlroy, who signed a 10-year, $250M deal with Nike starting with the '13 season. The Nike agreement includes head-to-toe apparel and equipment. McIlroy’s play has suffered so far after switching clubs from Titleist to Nike this year as Tiger Woods overtook McIlroy atop the official world golf rankings last month, though McIlroy did finish tied for second yesterday at the Valero Texas Open. However, McIlroy remains a hot commercial property. Urquhart described McIlroy as a player who is good for the sport. Urquhart and McIlroy enjoyed a private breakfast on Friday morning as they discussed their future plans. “There’s a certain sincerity with Rory. People genuinely like him. He’s very natural and he’s not the kind of guy to take success for granted.”
Honda Motor Corp. in collaboration with Spanish company ExternPro, will be the official Moto2 engine supplier for the next three years. ExternPro, part of the Parque Tecnólogico de MotorLand Aragón, "will be the company preparing the engines for competition, ensuring their reliability, as well as carrying out regular maintenance" (MotoGP). ... Second Bundesliga club SC Paderborn will end its title sponsorship with furniture store Finke at the end of the season. Club President Wilfried Finke said, "The time has come to provide a new company with the opportunity to use this exclusive advertising right at SCP." The furniture store will continue its partnership with the club but focus its involvement on the team's youth department (SC Paderborn). ... The Irish Cricket Team and the Irish Supporters have "appointed Abbey Travel as their Official Travel Supplier." It will manage travel needs of the int'l team and "will also offer Irish fans packages to away games" (Abbey Travel).