Etihad Airways to sponsor Manchester City

Manchester City has agreed a new multi-million pound shirt sponsorship deal with airline Etihad Airways.

The three-year deal will start from next season and will see the Abu-Dhabi carrier replace Thomas Cook on the team’s shirts from the next season.

City is now among the richest clubs in the world after being acquired by the Abu Dhabi United Group last September.

The club has been looking to broaden its global appeal with the signings of a number of international players, including Brazilian star Robhinio (pictured) and by building an “executive leadership team” that aims to enable the club to compete commercially with other Premier League clubs such as city rivals Manchester United.

The club appointed former Aegis Media executive David Pullan as brand and marketing officer to build the club’s global fan base in March.

Although City did not reveal the exact value of the deal, the agreement with the relatively cash-rich Etihad will probably outstrip other recent Premier League deals.

The recession has put pressure on brands to maximise the return on their investments with many questioning the value of long-term sponsorship arrangements.

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