From the category of too obvious for words, but I feel compelled to report it anyway, AIG has announced that it will not renew its sponsorship deal with Manchester United when it expires in May, 2010. AIG has been essentially nationalized by the US government following hundreds of billions of dollars in losses in the global financial crisis. The US has injected more than $150 billion in an attempt to rescue AIG of which at least $60 billion must be repaid to the government as a loan repayment. Given AIG's still precarious financial condition, it was inevitable that this deal would not be renewed. In fact, AIG explored the possibility of terminating it early when the news of its financial condition first became public, but both parties decided that it would abide by the contract.
Man U should have no trouble finding a new jersey sponsor and should get a nice price for it too. However, I think the market is not anywhere near what it was before the global recession took hold last fall. As a result, while Man U commands a premium price, it is not likely to reach the price it had been receiving from AIG. I haven't seen any numbers for any jersey deals done in the last four months, in fact, I'm not sure I remember seeing any jersey deals having been done in the last four months, so there is no baseline to extrapolate from, still I think the Red Devils should be pleased to get a little raise for their new deal. I expect them to look to the Asian market for a prospective sponsor as they are making a big push to expand the Man U brand into Asia. An Asian jersey sponsor would dovetail nicely with that marketing push.