Aon & Manchester United : the most lucrative sponsorship deal in world football

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    Aon Corporation, has teamed up with Manchester United in a sponsorship deal that Aon hopes will raise its profile in developing markets.

    Aon announced the four-year deal in early June. The Chicago-based broker’s logo will adorn the famous red shirts of the Old Trafford club from the 2010/2011 season, taking over from its current sponsor, the US insurer AIG.

    Manchester United has been Britain’s most successful club in the past decade, winning the Premier League title seven times, the Champions League twice and the Club World Cup once.

    It was denied a triple trophy-winning season in 2009 when it was defeated by Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome in May.

    It is also the best-supported club in the world, with a fan base numbering tens of millions of people.

    Aon’s walking billboards

    The deal would give Aon millions of ‘walking billboards’ Aon CEO Greg Case said in a conference call with journalists.

    “Our leadership team saw the opportunity to take the next step in the development of our firm by aligning our brand with what we consider to be one of the most powerful brands in the world: Manchester United,” says David Prosperi, Vice President of Global Public Relations at Aon.

    “It will give us exposure in markets where we have high potential for revenue growth and market share growth, such as Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The Manchester United brand has very strong awareness in those markets,” says Prosperi.

    Manchester United’s tie-up with the children’s charity UNICEF was also appealing to Aon when weighing up the merits of the deal, it said.

    Lucrative sponsorship

    The terms of the deal were not disclosed but British newspapers have reported the agreement is worth £80m, calling it the most lucrative sponsorship deal in world football.

    The deal will bring Aon enormous benefits, says an international marketing expert.

    “Through this deal, Aon is taking a short cut in the process to becoming a globally recognised brand name.” says Andy Milligan, author of ‘Brand it Like Beckham’ and a director of consultancy firm the Caffeine Partnership.

    “Manchester United is probably the largest soccer brand in the world. Its fan base is enormous; it also plays in the two most-watched competitions in the world: the English Premier League and the European Champions League. Over a billion people will be watching the likes of Wayne Rooney wearing Aon’s logo.”

    Milligan adds: “Aon is associating itself with a set of values that consumers find very attractive at a time when the public does not generally view financial services firms in a positive light. It also offers Aon corporate hospitality opportunities that have significant benefits for it.”