Friday, September 11, 2009

Standard Chartered to replace Carlsberg for the most lucrative deal in football history

Liverpool have secured a new shirt sponsorship deal that equals the most lucrative in football history after signing a four-year agreement with Standard Chartered, the London-based international bank, worth £80 million over four years.

With their present deal with Carlsberg due to expire in mid-2010, Liverpool’s commercial department, headed by Ian Ayre, has been looking for a money-spinning agreement in keeping with the club’s status as one of the most recognisable brands in world sport. Until July, an exclusivity accord with Carlsberg prevented them from entering into talks with any other interested parties but once that had expired, Liverpool moved swiftly to tie up a new deal.

Carlsberg has enjoyed a 17-year relationship with Liverpool, one of the longest-running associations in world sport, but was unwilling to match the £20 million a season offer made by Standard Chartered, which equals the deal struck by Manchester United with Aon Corp, the American financial giant, in June.

Liverpool have long been criticised by their supporters for punching below their weight when it comes to commercial opportunities but the sponsorship deal struck by Ayre, the commercial director, is an indication that the club are beginning to make the most of their glittering history and worldwide fan base.

The fact that the Merseyside club have secured a sponsorship arrangement on a par with United’s is also hugely symbolic, with Liverpool having trailed some way behind their North West rivals for several years in terms of commercial enterprise. Liverpool’s deal with Carlsberg, for example, is worth just £7.2 million per annum, a figure that fell short of United’s £14 million income from AIG, the American insurance corporation.

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