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Manchester City given go-ahead to secure naming rights deal

Mon 14th Mar 2011 | Football Sponsorship

Manchester City have been given permission by town hall bosses to sell the naming rights to Eastlands.

The Blues are hoping to seal a multi-million pound megadeal by renaming the stadium.

But they needed approval from Manchester council, which owns the former Commonwealth Games stadium.

Despite town hall chiefs remaining tight-lipped, it is understood City have now secured their approval to search for a sponsor for Eastlands – which is still officially called the City of Manchester Stadium.

Such a deal is seen as a way for City to boost revenues in a bid to meet Uefa’s financial fair play rules.

Under the new rules, clubs playing in Europe need to be close to breaking even within three years. Last year the Blues posted a record loss of £121m.

It’s understood the council would also benefit from any deal.

City’s Premier League rivals Arsenal sold the rights to their stadium to the Emirates airline for around £100m in 2006. That deal runs until 2021.

City will not reveal who their likely sponsors would be, and a club source said that no deal had yet been made. But it is likely that City’s shirt sponsors Etihad, a rival airline to Emirates, will be frontrunners. The news comes after news that City had negotiated a new lease on Eastlands last year.

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

Under the new lease, City will pay the council a set rate, regardless of attendances.

Earlier this month, City entered into a partnership with the council and regeneration firm New East Manchester to transform the area around Eastlands. Work is currently going on at the side of the stadium ahead of the huge redevelopment.

Proposals include a new training complex for City’s players and a host of world-class sports facilities. No official line has emerged on whether the capacity of Eastlands will be increased from its current 47,000.

But it is understood club bosses are looking at increasing it to between 65,000-75,000 which would see the ground rival Old Trafford in size

 

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