Manchester 2002 has signed up three major sponsors, in deals which add £12m to the next Commonwealth Games.
The three deals, with Atlantic Telecom, Adecco (UK) and Guardian Media Group, add to existing contracts with United Utilities and Manchester City Airport, together worth £5m.
Atlantic Telecom, which has pledged £8m to the event, is using the Games to promote its expansion out of Scotland. Manchester is the first city in which Atlantic, part-owned by Marconi, will start its assault on the rest of the UK market.
Guardian Media Group and Adecco, which claims to be the world’s largest employment services provider, have both committed £2m.
Organisers of the Games have been under pressure to secure £62m in sponsorship, TV rights, merchandising and ticket sales following mounting running costs. The total cost of staging the Games is £208m.
Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken a personal interest in raising the cash following a political storm last year, when an all-party select committee of MPs demanded financial action after it emerged that Manchester City Council could end up with a shortfall of at least £30m (MW June 3 1999).
The BBC has already agreed to pay up to £14m for UK broadcast rights.