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Manchester United Secure Biggest Shirt Sponsorship Deal in History

Manchester United have once again demonstrated their financial pulling power by securing the biggest shirt deal in football history. They have secured a four year contract worth £80m with Aon Corporation, the American financial giant, which will replace AIG as the club's shirt sponsors from the start of the 2010-11 season. The deal comfortably eclipses the £68m four year agreement that Bayern Munich have with T-home, the telecommunications firm, and dwarfs United's existing £56.5m contract with AIG.

Wigan Athletic Top Premiership Value League

It's an unlikely honour, but Wigan are champions of the Premiership in a 'points for pounds' league that measures the extent to which season ticket holders are given value for money. ING Direct compares season ticket costs with the team's performance in the top flight. In the rankings, the Lactics are followed by Blackburn, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Liverpool. Newcastle finish last with Spurs and Portsmouth also in the bottom three. 17 out of 20 Premiership clubs have already announced a prize freeze or a reduction for next year.

Buyer's Market For Football Club Shirt Sponsorship

Premiership clubs are facing a buyer's market for shirt sponsorships. 188Bet, an Asia-focused online gambling company unknown in the UK has pulled off a double sponsorship deal. It will be the shirt sponsor for Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic for the next two seasons. It is believed that 188Bet is paying Bolton about £70,000 a year, while Wigan is getting about £60,000. Both clubs may get bonuses based on team performance. A year ago both clubs could have expected deals in the region of £1m a year.

Cost of Being a Fan Goes Up

The Virgin Money Football Fans' Inflation Index shows that the cost of going to a match for an individual has risen to £89.53, a five per cent year-on-year increase on a year ago. The cost of attending games has gone up by 14 per cent since the index was launched in 2006. However, the basket of goods reached its peak last October when it was as high as £106.21, reflecting petrol prices among other factors. One response from fans is that one in four of them will not buy their team's new kit next season.

Taxman Goes After Football Players Image Rights

HM Revenue and Customs are launching a clampdown on the way top footballers are paid. They have begun a fresh wave of investigations into so-called 'image rights' payments by Premiership clubs to their players. Wigan Athletic has already confirmed that it has been examined by the authorities. In its most recent accounts the club states that it has 'undergone an investigation by HMRC into the correct operation of PAYE/NI on certain payments and expenses made to/on behalf of employees.' Club chairman David Whelan confirmed that the probe concerned image rights payments.

Man United Seek Shirt Sponsorship Deal

As expected, the troubled US insurance group AIG which has been bailed out by the US Government will not be renewing its shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United that expires in May 2010. AIG agreed to pay £14 million a year for four years for the shirt sponsorship deal and also has a longer £5m a year deal to run MU Finance. AIG signed a six-and-a-half year deal at the beginning of 2008 to offer insurance, credit cards and mortgages using the MU Finance brand. It is not clear whether the MU Finance deal will continue.

£100,000 Lifetime Tab For Being A Fan

Dedicated football fans will spend £100,000 in a lifetime supporting a club according to research by Virgin Money. Calculations show that supporters of Premiership clubs spend as much as they would raising a child or buying a home. The keen supporter currently shells out £1,875 a season and once inflation has been taken into account that tots up to more than £100,000. Travel costs alone come in at £40,000 in a lifetime with another £25,700 going on club merchandise, food, drink and programmes. The calculations are only for a single fan with food and the cost of travel to away matches.

Carlsberg Hit Out At Liverpool Stadium Delays

Carlsberg, Liverpool's biggest sponsor, has criticised Liverpool's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, for delays in building their new stadium. Keld Strudahl, Carlsberg's international marketing director, said: 'While we have a good relationship with Tom Hicks, we are naturally unhappy that the planned new stadium has been postponed. That cannot be good for Liverpool as a long-term business.' The Danish brewer, whose relationship with Liverpool stretches back 16 years, said it would be happy doing business with Dubai International Capital should it still be interested.

West Rules OK in Bundesliga

Not one side from the former East Germany (DDR) has won a Bundesliga title in the nineteen years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It looks like the wait could go on for quite a while, as Energie Cottbus are the old East's sole representative in the top flight and even their position is under threat - they are currently bottom of the division. After reunification, the only DDR sides in a financial condition to join the top flight were Dinamo Dresden and Hansa Rostock.

Football Shirt Sponsors Are Harder To Find

The turmoil at Manchester United's sponsors, AIG, has focused attention on football shirt sponsors. Football shirt sponsorship has enjoyed steady growth in recent years. According to sports marketing consultant Sports Markt, total revenues last year were £287.8m in the six large European leagues, up 10.6 per cent on the previous year and doubling their value in eight years. But, as with most aspects of life in the Premier League, there is a gulf between the top clubs and everyone else, and the economic downturn is leaving other clubs struggling to find a sponsor.