Manchester City Football Club will play its home games without a shirt sponsor next season. The club had manufactured kit featuring the logo of bankrupt financial services company First Advice.
With almost 100,000 replica shirts, made by Reebok, waiting to be shipped to retailers for sale next month, the club has decided that it cannot change the design in time for the forthcoming season. Consequently, it will be playing home games in shirts carrying the defunct logo.
Instead the club has been given permission from the Premier League to split its home and away shirt sponsorships. Any sponsor will have to accept a deal that does not involve the home shirt sponsorship for the first year, or will just buy the rights to away and European games.
An industry source says that such a deal could still be worth over &£1m a year. He says: “Manchester City has a number of advantages, such as its new stadium and the fact that the team will be playing in Europe next season, although the value of the deal will be hit by the fact that the players and the fans will not be wearing the sponsor’s logo at home.”
First Advice is the financial services arm of the Amulet Group, which went into administration at the beginning of the month (MW June 5). First Advice’s three-year deal was worth about &£4m, although Manchester City is unlikely to recoup any of the money following Amulet’s demise.