By Paul Kennedy
How powerful a commercial giant is Manchester United?
The English Premier League leader has sold the sponsorship rights to its training uniform -- not its match uniform -- and its training facility -- not its stadium -- in an eight-year deal believed to be in the neighborhood of $30 million a year.
Aon's name will be on United's training uniform, and the training facility in Carrington on the outskirts of Manchester will be called the Aon Training Complex under the agreement that begins in July.
Aon is United's game-day uniform sponsor until the 2014-15 season when it will be replaced by Chevrolet, which signed a record $559 million, seven-year deal with United.
The current sponsor of United's training uniform is DHL, which has been paying United about $15 million a year.
Does all this mean that naming rights to Old Trafford, the storied Manchester United stadium, will be next?
"Old Trafford will not be sold," United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said.
MLS ATTENDANCE WATCH. Saturday's crowd of 20,674 at JELD-WEN Field for Portland's game against Houston was the Timbers' 37th consecutive sellout since they joined MLS in 2011. Sporting Kansas City and San Jose also drew sellout crowds over the weekend.
The seven games averaged 15,053, dropping the 2013 season average to 17,390 a game, down 11.2 percent from the MLS average of 19,576 through Week 6 in 2012.
MLS Attendance, Week 6
19,988 Sporting KC-D.C. United
16,111 Toronto FC-FC Dallas
15,226 Colorado-Real Salt Lake
12,557 Chicago-New York
10,525 San Jose-Vancouver
15,053 WEEKLY AVERAGE
17,390 SEASON AVERAGE (-11.2%)
UNION PARTNERS WITH REDBOX. The Philadelphia Union is one of the first teams in Major League Soccer to partner with Redbox, giving fans access to single-game tickets through Redbox kiosks and online.
“Everything we do is focused on the fans and how to enhance their experience, including when and where they purchase tickets,” said Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz in a statement. “We are proud to be one of the first teams in MLS to partner with Redbox to provide another easy, convenient way for fans to access tickets where they live and as part of their daily routine.”
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