Noting that “companies that plough millions into shirt sponsorship are burning money faster than the KLF in the early 1990s.”, the Fiver’s Sean Ingle and Barry Glendenning nearly plotz from excitement at the news of Manchester United’s new jersey sponsorship.
American International Group (AIG) have just signed a Samsung-and-Chelsea-smashing £56.5m deal to have their name emblazoned on the MU Rowdies’ jerseys until 2010. The Fiver knows little about AIG, save that they’re a US finance company; something we’re sure will come in handy when the Glazers start struggling to repay their debts.
“We passed up the opportunity to do the world’s biggest shirt deal [£70m with gaming company Mansion] to do the right shirt deal, one that underlines our position as the world’s leading club,” crowed chief exec David Gill. And before pedants could point out that one FA Cup and one Carling Cup in three seasons is hardly the form of world-beaters, he waved them away with a self-satisfied: “AIG’s global operations complement our great fan base – this is a blue-chip deal for a blue-chip club.”
And Gill’s smugness didn’t end there. “On and off the pitch, [the Rowdies] always seeks to be both the first and the best,” he continued, reminding fans across the world just why they hate his club. “We do things differently. Whether it’s our faith in our academy over the years, or our approach to sponsors – we are unique. The [Rowdies] shirt is the most iconic image in world sport and the chance for companies to appear on it is very rare. This deal re-establishes the club firmly among the most valuable names in world sport!” But not the most valuable, Gilly-boy: Juventus’s sponsorship deal with Libyan oil company Tamoil is worth £15m-a-year.