United agree new shirt sponsorship deal

Aon Corp, the world's largest insurance broker, has agreed a four-year deal to sponsor the shirts of English Premier League champions Manchester United from the start of the 2010-11 season. United's current 14 million pounds a year deal with U.S. insurance giant American International Group runs out in June 2010. Details of the agreement were not disclosed but U.S. media reports said it was worth about 20 million pounds a year. "We are delighted to be entering such an important relationship with a company of the stature of Aon and to have its logo adorn our shirts from the start of the 2010-11 season," United chief executive David Gill said in a statement. "We look forward to being closely aligned with the world leader in risk management, a firm which shares our values and is an exciting partner for Manchester United. "Today's announcement clearly strengthens our position as one of the biggest clubs in world football." United won the Premier League title last month for the third year in a row to continue their domination of English football but they lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League final to end the season on a disappointing note. The deal represents a coup for Aon, which has secured one of the most prestigious advertising deals in sport with United's huge global fan base making them one of the top prizes in sports sponsorship. UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY "It is a unique opportunity when two leaders in their respective fields can come together in a partnership such as the one we are announcing today," added Greg Case, president and chief executive officer of Aon. "Manchester United has one of the most recognised sports brands in the world. David and his team are all about winning and about excellence; the same holds true for the Aon team." Aon last month posted a 28 percent rise in first-quarter net income but said softer insurance pricing and the economic downturn ate away at business. AIG told Reuters this year it would not renew its shirt sponsorship of United and that it had started cutting back costs in relation to the existing deal. Once the world's biggest insurer by market value, AIG averted bankruptcy in September last year with an $85 billion federal bailout, which later swelled to about $152 billion. The company, which has sold assets and cut costs to repay part of the government rescue package, joins a string of other companies that have had to rein in spending on sport as the global economic downturn deepens. United's appeal is enhanced by its growing legion of fans in the largely untapped Asian market. The club has exhibition games in China, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia planned for later this year. With the global financial crisis biting deeper by the day, companies around the world are cutting costs and slashing sponsorship budgets. Premier League club West Ham United went for weeks without shirt sponsorship after holiday firm XL went bust last year. Formula One has also been hit. BMW-Sauber lost Swiss bank Credit Suisse as a sponsor this year and F1 teams agreed to reduce their budgets by 30 percent for 2009. Manchester United rely on sponsorship for about a third of their revenues. The club pays about 43 million pounds a year to service 660 million pounds in debt created when U.S. owner Malcolm Glazer bought the club in 2005. UNITED FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Carlos Tevez Q&A Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistlerooy One on One David Beckham, George Best Ask A Silly Question Bryan Robson Boy's A Bit Special Danny Simpson Perfect XI Garth Crooks, Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona What Happened Next? David May, Norman Whiteside Sing When You’re Winning Dominic Monaghan, Ian Brown And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Rate United players (and others) on Talentspotter