In the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in British soccer history, U.S. insurer American International Group, Inc. (AIG) scored a four-year, $99.9 million deal that puts the company’s logo on the famed red shirts of Manchester United soccer players.
The new shirt debuts this summer by Manchester United’s apparel and merchandising partner Nike.
“We are very pleased to associate AIG, a global leader in insurance and financial services, with Manchester United, one of the most successful football clubs in the game and one of the world’s leading sports brands,” said Martin J. Sullivan, AIG’s CEO, in a statement. “We believe this relationship will mutually benefit both organizations, and we look forward to maximizing the value of this high- profile sponsorship to help grow AIG’s businesses around the world.”
United’s soccer club has an estimated 75 million fans across the world and the club’s Old Trafford stadium will hold nearly 76,000 fans by the start of next season. The team plays in the FA Premier League (think Major League Soccer) and on the European stage.
AIG replaces Vodaphone, which had a four-year contract worth $68.8 million.
“We’re looking to be more accessible to our global fan base, and having a partner with the knowledge and experience of AIG is invaluable,” said David Gill, United’s chief executive, in a statement. “AIG has over 250,000 employees and agents in Asia alone—a region where we have an estimated 40 million fans. This deal presents both of us with so many possibilities.”
Last year, the total revenue generated by United from its sale of branded products and services, its Nike partnership, and media partners exceeded $114 million.
“Our aim is to make this partnership the benchmark for such deals in sport,” Gill said. “We like to get to know our partners and…what they want and what they need. We think it’s a formula that makes sponsorship work for both sides.”
Before the deal, the biggest sponsorship of an English soccer club was a five-year contract Samsung inked with soccer club Chelsea worth $95.4 million.