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Manchester United sell training ground name as part of new €180m Aon deal

The club has insisted that the rights for Old Trafford will not be sold, however.

United players training at Carrington.
United players training at Carrington.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE ANNOUNCED signing an eight-year deal worth a reported €183 million (£156 million) with US insurance broker Aon to sponsor the club’s training ground and training kit.

The English Premier League leaders’ Carrington training ground will be renamed the Aon Training Complex and the insurer will replace logistics firm DHL as training kit sponsor, according to a statement on manutd.com.

It has previously been announced that Aon will become the main partner of the Manchester United Business Network and sponsor the Manchester United Foundation.

No figures were mentioned for the deal but according to media reports, Aon will pay around €18.9 million (£16 million) per year, which the US firm believes will help it increase brand awareness among United’s vast fanbase in Asia.

Phil Clement, the company’s chief marketing officer, was quoted as saying in the Financial Times on Monday that they were pushing to promote their name overseas.

We’ve gone from no brand awareness in countries like Japan and South Korea to incredible brand awareness,” he said. “It’s been an explosion. What we needed to do was translate that awareness into an understanding of what we do.”

It is a significant coup for United and confirmed their status as one of the world’s most commercially successful football clubs.

The Aon deal comes within months of the club securing a record €428 million (£364 million), seven-season shirt sponsorship deal with General Motors — more than double the previous figure paid by Aon, whose contract as United’s current shirt sponsor ends next year.

United became the first Premier League team to secure separate sponsorship for their training kit in 2010 when they signed a four-year contract with DHL worth €47 million (£40 million) but the club bought out the contract in October in an attempt to lure in a more lucrative offer.

The new Aon deal includes sponsoring United’s tours abroad, including this year’s trip to Asia.

Tour 2013 presented by Aon will focus on engaging with United’s 325 million followers in the region and includes matches in Bangkok, Sydney, Yokohama, Osaka and Hong Kong.

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United’s commercial director Richard Arnold said in a statement that the partnership would help build on the club’s global presence.

Other clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester City have sold sponsorship rights to their stadiums rather than training grounds but United said they have no plans to sell naming rights to Old Trafford.

The club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “Old Trafford will not be sold.”

© AFP, 2013

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