MANCHESTER, UK - Hopeful of regaining its status as the planet's wealthiest soccer club, Manchester United last week signed the biggest shirt-sponsorship contract in UK history with American International Group, the globe's largest insurer.
Man U will receive £56.5 million ($98.35m; €81.22m) over four years to emblazon AIG's name across its shirts and other gear. The soccer club is seeking to repay more than £600 million of debt accrued following its takeover by the US investor Malcolm Glazer in June.
The shirt deal is 57% more than the £9m annual fee Manchester received from cellphone operator Vodafone Group. The deal takes effect at the start of the next soccer season in late summer 2006.