Soccer – Manchester City Stadium Name Sold

Posted By on July 7, 2011

Manchester City, the English soccer club owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, will sign the richest sponsorship agreement in its history with Etihad Airways, the Gulf state’s government-owned airline, according to two people familiar with the transaction.

Etihad, which pays 2.3 million pounds ($3.7 million) a year as the team’s shirt sponsor, will get naming rights for the City of Manchester Stadium, said the people, who declined to be identified because the deal hasn’t been publicly announced. They declined to reveal the terms of the contract, which will be announced soon. Etihad and City declined to comment.

Mansour has spent almost $1 billion since acquiring City in September 2008. He’s bought international players including Carlos Tevez and David Silva in an effort to win trophies and outpace rival cross-town rival Manchester United, which last season won a record 19th English championship. City qualified for the Champions League and won the F.A. Cup last season, its first major trophy since 1976.

City has been trying to increase its revenue in an effort to meet new criteria on fiscal responsibility established by European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. Under those rules, clubs that can’t keep costs and income at an acceptable level face being banned from the Champions League, Europe’s elite competition. City’s accounts for the year ended May 31, 2010, show it lost 121.3 million pounds, 31 percent more than a year earlier. […read more]