Manchester City have been given permission by Manchester council to sell the naming rights of the City of Manchester Stadium.
The Citizens board, lead by Chief Executive Garry Cook, are hopeful of sealing a multi-million pound megadeal to rename the stadium, in the same manner that saw Arsenal sell the naming rights to Ashburton Ground to the airline Emirates in 2006. That deal, which runs until 2021, earned the Gunners in the region of £100m.
Such a deal is seen as a way for City to boost their revenue stream as they look to meet UEFA‘s new financial fair play rules.
The new rules mean that clubs who are taking part in European competition, must be close to breaking even within three years. Last year however, City posted a record loss of £121m.
City moved to Eastlands from their former home at Maine Road in 2003, signing a 250-year lease, a lease which was last year re-negotiated, which sees City pay a set rate, regardless of attendances, to the council.
Furthermore, the club’s Abu Dhabi based owners have entered into partnership with the Manchester council, as they look to transform the area around Eastlands; proposals include a new training complex and a host of world-class sports facilities, whilst it’s understood the club are looking to increase the stadium size to between 65,000 – 75,000.
No deal has yet been made as to who the likely new stadium sponsors will be, but it’s expected that current shirt sponsor Etihad, the airline, will be amongst the front-runners.