Home » EPL, Latest » Man City sell stadium name in record £150m deal

Manchester City will today announce the richest stadium naming rights deal in English football history – worth £150million.

City have struck the extraordinary deal with their shirt sponsors Etihad, to rename the City of Manchester Stadium the Etihad Airways stadium from next season.

Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based airline which already pays £2.3million a year to have its name emblazoned on City’s shirts, have signed up for the naming rights for 15 years.

The deal is understood to be worth around £10m a year and is a significant step towards City complying with UEFA’s imminent introduction of financial fair play rules.

City owner Sheikh Mansour has spent £1billion since buying the club in September 2008 and the club’s exorbitant wage bill, combined with their huge outlay on transfers, made precarious their potential to comply with UEFA’s new rulings.

As such, the City hierarchy have been working on ways to increase the club’s revenue to meet the strict new regulations laid down by European football’s governing body or face the prospect of being exiled from the Champions League.

City’s last published accounts show it lost £121.3m, a 31 per cent increase on the previous year, with wages like the £200,000-a-week paid to stars like Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure a major factor in the rise, as well as their transfer market spending.

Under UEFA’s new financial fair play rules, clubs must not spend more money than they earn. More specifically, they must not spend more money on wages and other expenses than they earn in ticket, media and commercial income in any one of the monitoring periods laid down by UEFA.

The lucrative naming rights deal eclipses that of Arsenal, who signed a £100m agreement over 15 years with Emirates when in 2006 they moved from Highbury to their new state-of-the-art 60,000-seater stadium.

Although Arsenal’s naming rights deal was also over 15 years, the figure of £100m also included an eight-year shirt sponsorship deal worth around £6m a year. City’s stadium naming rights deal, it is understood, is wholly independent of Etihad’s shirt sponsorship, making it by far the most expensive deal of its kind.

City moved to the Eastlands stadium from Maine Road in 2003 and have been paying Manchester City Council between £2m-3m a year since, with a £1billion planned redevelopment of the ground – expanding its capacity from 46,000 to 60,000 – already under way.

UEFA is certain to subject to close scrutiny City’s latest agreement with Etihad, to ensure it meets its regulations and is not simply a cosy deal whereby wealthy club owners such as Sheikh Mansour can use existing sponsorship deals to inflate the balance sheets of their clubs to comply with financial fair play.

Source: Mirror

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