Proven Quality can exclusively reveal that Manchester City are putting the finishing touches to an unprecedented deal to sell a new package of sponsorship rights, worth in the region of £150million a season.
Manchester City have courted controversy with sponsorship revenues in the past, having sold shirt sponsorship and stadium naming rights to Etihad in a deal worth around £400million over 10 years.
City have recently sold player image rights to an external company for £24.5million, but will not reveal the name of the company, and have made £22.45million from selling intellectual property rights to “related parties” – the names of these related parties have also not been revealed by the club, but they are believed to include New York City FC, Manchester City Ladies FC and Melbourne Heart.
City have also sold “intangible assets” to companies such as City Football Marketing and City Football Services for significant sums. In a further bid to ensure that City pass the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, the club have also employed two accountants from Deloitte, who helped UEFA in the creation of the FFP regulations.
Manchester City are not the only club benefiting from what some might consider dubious sponsorship deals. Paris Saint-Germain, owned by the Qatari royal family, have a deal with the Qatar Tourist Authority worth €200million a season that almost doubled their revenue in the 2012-13 season.
The first penalties for clubs failing to achieve the break-even regulations set out in UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rulings will be enforced for the 2014-15 season, with panels of experts deliberating for UEFA whether such sponsorship deals represent ‘fair value’ in the market, and whether the third parties involved in sponsorship deals are sufficiently remote from club owners. Clubs that fail to pass the UEFA regulations could be excluded from competing in European competitions including the Champions League and Europa League.
Manchester City look set to narrowly pass the limits set out for overspending, but could fall foul of the third party rules if UEFA decides that deals between Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of Manchester City, and his half-brother Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the board of Etihad Airways, are illegitimate.
New Manchester City sponsorship
From next season, club stars including Yaya Touré, Sergio Agüero and Vincent Kompany will wear the name of a new sponsor on the back of their socks.
The massive sponsorship deal is set to be signed with Aabar investments, already a Manchester City club sponsor and definitely not related to the club’s owner. Aabar Investments are a private company registered in Abu Dhabi and are a subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan could not be reached for comment, but insiders at IPIC said that IPIC chairman Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is delighted with the deal.
Manchester City have spent a reported £512million on players in the last five seasons, winning the Premier League title in 2012, the FA Cup in 2011, and qualifying for the Champions League three times, even managing to get out of the group stage for the first time this season.
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak spoke to Proven Quality to tell us :
It is clear that we cannot compete with the big spending clubs of the Premier League like Everton, Newcastle and Arsenal, and the financial giants of European football like Ajax and Borussia Dortmund without substantial inside *cough*, sorry, outside investment.
We really need to increase our investment in players. We’ve tried to scout and bring through talented unknown players, but it’s a really tough ask for us to beat teams like Wigan and Cardiff when we can only buy five £20million+ players a season.
Sewing up the new tailor-made sock sponsorship deal is set to give a big boost to the cash-strapped Manchester club as they look to patch up their threadbare squad in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Edit: Sorry Manchester City fans, signing Lionel Messi is still unlikely – this was indeed an April fool.