ManU, Aon Agree On $270M Deal To Change Name Of Carrington Training Base
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).