Etihad Airways Agree Stadium-Naming Rights Deal with Manchester City FC

July 8, 2011

Top English Premier League soccer club Manchester City has increased its involvement with shirt sponsor Etihad Airways courtesy of a new stadium rights deal.

Reports suggest the deal will last between 10-15 years and is said to be worth US$240m.

Man City and Etihad confirmed the agreement at a press conference in Manchester today which will see the City of Manchester Stadium renamed to The Etihad Stadium.

Etihad, a state-owned airline in Abu Dhabi, already pays US$3.7m a year to put its logo on Man City’s shirts, and the club’s connections to the United Arab Emirates don’t stop there.

On Thursday, Etihad enhanced its club sponsorship with the unveiling of a specially liveried A330-200 aircraft. The new “Blue Moon Rising” livery marks the start of double daily flights between Manchester and Abu Dhabi, effective from August 1.

Garry Cook, CEO of Manchester City Football Club, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Etihad Airways through this comprehensive partnership agreement. Most importantly, in addition to delivering significant revenue at a key stage in the Club’s evolution, the agreement creates exciting opportunities for our two organisations to cooperate more deeply commercially and on media and community initiatives in the future.”

James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “This is a game-changing partnership agreement that redefines the traditional sports sponsorship paradigm. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for two iconic brands that share the same vision to promote far-reaching global awareness and business growth.

“Etihad’s work with Manchester City Football Club has already yielded a significant return on our investment and we are thrilled to build on our relationship. Their well-established name and loyal fan base have allowed us to tap into a new and increasing global audience. In addition to being a sensible alignment for our brand from a business perspective, it is also one that we can get very excited about, especially at a time when MCFC’s winning attitude is bringing increased success for the team on the national and international stage.”

Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought the Blues in September 2008, pumping money into the club, culminating most recently in Man City winning its first major trophy since 1976 with last season’s FA Cup.

The club renegotiated with Manchester City Council in October, allowing the naming rights to City of Manchester Stadium to be sold in a bid for additional revenue sources.

The stadium was originally built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and is still officially called the City of Manchester Stadium.

The club moved there from Maine Road in 2003, signing a 250-year agreement which saw a percentage of match-day income paid into the town hall coffers.

City and the council reached a new agreement last year which sees the town hall receive a set amount, regardless of attendances at the 47,500 capacity stadium.

It is understood the council will also benefit from the naming rights deal.