Soccer-Ronaldo sale does not affect sponsor deal, say Aon

CHICAGO, June 12 (Reuters) - Manchester United’s proposed record sale of Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo does not affect Aon Corp’s new shirt sponsor deal with the English Premier League champions, the company said.

“Our agreement is with Manchester United, not over any particular player, but more the franchise and the brand,” Aon spokesman David Prosperi said late Thursday. “News of this type does not impact our agreement at all.”

United said on Thursday they had accepted Real Madrid’s staggering offer of 80 million pounds for Ronaldo.

Last week, Aon, the world’s largest insurance broker, agreed to a four-year deal to sponsor the shirts of United starting with the 2010-2011 season.

United’s current sponsorship deal with U.S. insurance giant American International Group pays 14 million pounds annually and expires in June 2010. U.S. media reports have pegged Aon’s deal at 20 million pounds a year.

The deal with United was seen as a coup for Aon due to the soccer club’s huge, global fan base that continues to grow, especially in Asia. Aon chief executive Greg Case described United one of the most recognized sports brands in the world.

United rely on sponsorship for about a third of their revenue, and the club pays about 43 million pounds a year to service 660 million pounds in debt created when U.S. owner Malcolm Glazer bought the club in 2005.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Chicago and Lilla Zuill in New York, editing by Justin Palmer;

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