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Aon To Take AIG’s Place On Manchester United Jersey

Out with one insurance company in with another.

With AIG not extending its jersey sponsorship deal with Manchester

United, Aon Corporation , a $10 billion company who specializes in risk management, insurance and consulting, is expected to take over.

Terms of Aon's four-year deal have not been disclosed, but AIG’s partnership was worth about $100 million.

Because of the following of Manchester United, its jersey is believed by some to be the most valuable space in all of sports marketing. The team sells more than six million jerseys a year -- made by Nike -- and Aon is only the team’s fourth jersey sponsor ever (Sharp, Vodafone , AIG).

The soccer team is universally thought of as the world's biggest sports brand and claims to have more than 300 million fans. The team’s Web site gets about 60 million impressions a month, 70 percent of which are outside the United Kingdom. More than 220 countries have access to the team’s MANU-TV channel.

The fact that Aon was willing to forge this very public alliance at a time when marketing, and more specifically sports marketing, has been under attack means that they are confident they can justify returns not only internally, but to their investors. On the surface, the deal seems to be an automatic door worldwide door opener for Aon. It's believed there are six times the amount of ManU fans in India as there are fans of the team in the UK.

The deal came together in about three weeks and was negotiated by TSMGI, a sports marketing firm in Deerfield, Ill., which has mostly worked with motorsports properties. Manchester United had reviewed hundreds of possible alliances over the last couple months, including Tata, Saudi Telecom and Samsung.

The team won the Premier League again this year. It was the 11th time the United won the title since 1992. Manchester United lost the Champions League final to Barcelona last week.

Update:Both Manchester United and Aon have now confirmed the alliance.

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