Is Manchester United’s Sponsor Dead?


Update: Manchester United have announced a new sponsorship deal with AON Corporation for $33 million per season, a four-year partnership

When you think of AIG you think of trust…not so much anymore, you know, after the financial crisis…

What happens to the AIG logo on the Manchester United jerseys if AIG goes under or is bought out by another company? Will they have to change up their jerseys mid-season? Has this ever happened to an English League Premier team?

It seems unlikely that AIG will collapse, but it is possible. Their stock has lost 90% of its value this past year. The giant United States insurance company is seeking buyers and trying to get access to cash to stay alive as a company. AIG may need to raise $20 billion in capital and sell $20 billion of assets to ease a cash crunch brought on by the collapse of U.S. mortgage markets.

I’d think a company like Herbalife would be more likely to fall apart instead of a company like AIG. As some snafu develops in one of Herbalife’s ‘nutrition’ and ‘weight loss’ products – but I know nothing about that company nor their products, so who’s to say really. It certainly would be a disaster though for the already troubled LA Galaxy Beckham machine.

It just seems far fetched that Manchester United would be touched by the real estate crash. But so it goes.

The AIG deal with Manchester was slated for four years and the deal was agreed upon in April of 2006:

Players for Manchester United, the U.K.’s legendary football (soccer) club, will be sporting AIG logos on their shirts for the next four years. Man United’s chief executive David Gill announced yesterday, April 6, at a press conference at Old Trafford that the club had agreed to a £56.5 million ($98.88 million) deal with American International Group. The agreement is the biggest of its kind in English football, and will run for four years from the beginning of next season.

Like Merrill Lynch, which was just bought by Bank of America, AIG would most likely keep its name, so Manchester United wouldn’t have to necessarily adjust their jerseys. But if they did have to make the switch it would probably actually spur a lot of new buyers and be a boon for the team’s coffers – more jersey sales in general. Everyone wants the latest and newest shirt.

Nothing can really stop Manchester United though, off the field or on. Ferguson is the general and he wouldn’t let a sponsors financial collapse seep into his clubs ability to play football. After all, he’s used to getting things his way, whether that’s steering Cristiano Rolando back into the fold and away from Real Madrid or not letting some sponsors problems wreck his plans for a repeat title.