Manchester City hope to strike a record sponsorship deal
with Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, after opening
talks about an agreement that would recognise their position as the most richly
endowed club in the world.
Although talks are described as "very early" and
several other companies are also in the frame, Etihad's links to the Abu Dhabi
United Group (ADUG) have established the airline as the front-runners to replace
Thomas Cook as shirt sponsors.
Clearly the club are looking to go global and really develop 'Brand City' with their next choice of sponsor given Garry Cook's rather withering comments about our current and previous sponsorship deals:
"The market is worldwide," he said at the time. "You look at
our brand and our brand looks like Thomas Cook. And there's something not right
about sitting in a bar in Bangkok or Beijing or Tokyo and seeing 'Fred Smith's
plumbing. Call 0161 . . .' There's something not right about that, so you have
to think on a global stage."
I don't think there has ever been a time where given our ownership and profile we can really attract a deal that will pay us amongst the top end sponsorship deals (the report even suggests United's current deal with AIG could be topped), and the Middle-East is now an obvious area where the club will look to target that deal.
As I posted previously, it does seem that a new kit manufacturer will also be on the horizon - although probably a better indicator of any new deals will be the reduction in price of the current three kits sometime in the New Year.