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Man City expected to announce record stadium naming rights deal

Fri 8th Jul 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Manchester City are expected to announce one of the largest stadium naming rights deals in the UK later today with Etihad Airways.

The airline owned by the Abu Dhabi government, will take the naming rights for the stadium in a long term agreement thought to be worth around £100m.

However, the deal will provide UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules with its first test which requires any sponsorship deal with a party related to the club's owners to pass a "fair value" test.

Under the new financial rules, clubs are expected to break even if they are to participate in UEFA’s cup competitions. City, who posted losses of around £120m in their last accounts are expected to earn around £10-£15m per year from the deal.

Etihad already pay £2.3m a year as the club's shirt sponsor and yesterday unveiled a specially liveried A330-200 aircraft.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very proud of our sponsorship of Manchester City Football Club, and of our commitment to the wider community. Manchester has been a key destination for Etihad for five years, and the increase in frequency to double daily indicates our dedication to the region.”

City’s increasing commercial revenues will come under scrutiny and UEFA have said they will use benchmarking exercises and specialists in the field to determine whether sponsorship and naming-rights deals are above their true market value. If it is deemed that they are, the excess must be deducted from break-even calculations.

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