Published on June 9th, 2016 | by Daniel Cheeseman1
Manchester City Sponsorship by the Numbers
Manchester City were in the shadow of their more illustrious neighbours Manchester United for quite some time when the Abu Dhabi Group led by Sheikh Mansour decided to take over the club. Since then, the situation hasn’t been the same, and the Citizens have been one of the most successful clubs in recent years in England.
This rise in success also meant that City could attract much better sponsors than before. However, the club’s main sponsor Etihad Airways is still very much connected with Abu Dhabi’s Royal family, which in fact is Manchester City’s owner – Sheikh Mansour. The United Arab Emirates’ airline sponsors the stadium, which bears its name, it also sponsors City’s official shirt and their campus with their new training ground. The whole deal is worth about £400 million and the only thing missing is for Etihad Airways to be the official ticket sponsor to MCFC.
The partnership between the airline and the club started in 2009 and the current 10-year deal began in 2011. It nets City £20 million per year and is one of the most productive partnerships in the English Premier League. The deal ranks City 5th in the EPL, after Manchester United’s Chevrolet deal (£53m), Chelsea’s partnership with Yokohama (£40m), Arsenal’s Fly Emirates deal (£30m), and Liverpool’s Standard Chartered agreement (£25m).
In 2014 it was reported that talks had already started about extending this deal for further 5 years, which would have seen City cash in £50 million per season, but it seems like those talks have stalled for now. The reported deal also included the buying out of a reserve team stadium naming rights and improved first team headquarters.
Manchester City’s official kit sponsor is Nike. The Citizens signed the agreement with the American sportswear giant in April 2012 and it is worth around £12 million per year. Just like with the Etihad Airways deal, reports emerged last year that City and Nike were in discussions to extend their agreement. This is as a result of the sudden explosion in value of kit sponsorship deals in the years after City and Nike signed their agreement. For example, City’s rivals, Manchester United, are on a staggering £75 million per year kit deal with Adidas, and Chelsea have just agreed a massive £60 million-a-year deal with Nike which prematurely ends their partnership with Adidas.
Etihad Airways and Nike are the two biggest City sponsors. However, there are also some other partnerships equally as important. City’s five year partnership with Nissan for example, is worth around £20 million to City, but can also go much higher. It gives Nissan a foothold in the EPL and promotes their newly produced electric vehicles through the use of City’s brand.
Similarly, Manchester City are on a three year deal with sports gaming giants EA Sports. The firm from California has installed FIFA gaming pods inside the stadium, in which City fans can enjoy EA Sports most famous products while being seated in comfortable chairs and playing on a large flat screen TV.
All in all, it’s obvious that City’s main sponsors are investing quite a lot of money in the club. However, City’s hierarchy is also aware that more lucrative agreements have been signed by other clubs, since they first put pen to paper with Etihad Airways and Nike.
In light of this fact, it can be expected to hear more reports about City’s representatives working very hard to come to better deals with their current sponsors, and they probably will, especially as now they have the hugely marketable face of Pep Guardiola as their manager.