Manchester United recently signed the most valuable shirt sponsorship deal with Aon, who will replace current sponsors AIG. The last Manchester United shirt to bear the AIG logo was released yesterday and is now available for pre-order, with Aon to feature on our shirts for the 2010/2011 season.

Chris Toy from Studs Up has conducted an interview with David Prosperi, VP, Global Public Relations at Aon Coporation, who talks on a variety of issues involved with the new sponsorship.

Chris wondered whether the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo had concerned Aon, given his popularity around the World, but Prosperi took the view of United fans worldwide, that no single player is bigger than the club.

“While some of our 37,000 global colleagues may have had some personal reaction to Ronaldo’s departure, Aon agreed to this partnership based on the overall strength and appeal of the Manchester United brand and not just one player,” he said. “We recognized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be aligned with the number one brand in the world’s number one sport. We feel there are a number of great opportunities for our brand to be placed on the Manchester United shirt with tremendous exposure to the millions of dedicated fans who follow this team every day.”

Our current sponsors AIG have not renewed their deal after becoming financially crippled and relying on a US Federal Reserve to bail them out. Prosperi recognises the success AIG had and hopes a repeat effect for themselves…obviously without the massive financial issues!

“It is merely a coincidence that an insurance broker is taking the place of an insurer, and we have a great deal of respect for AIG, for their brand, and for the work they have done with Manchester United during the course of their agreement, which continues through the 2009-2010 season,” he continued. “The first year after AIG’s sponsorship agreement began, they came from nowhere on the list of the world’s top 100 brands to 47th! And they jumped from 84th to 30th on Barron’s list of the most respected companies. Our objective in signing this agreement with Manchester United is to build our brand globally, and we hope we are as successful as AIG.”

Chris wondered whether Aon were planning to take a backseat in this partnership or whether they’re keen to have more of an impact on the football club and its community.

“We intend to become more than just a name on a shirt during our agreement with Manchester United,” he added. “Aon is a global firm that strongly believes in giving back to the communities in the over-than 120 countries in which it does business, and we were favourably pleased that Manchester United shares many of those same values through their work with UNICEF. There is no other sport that teaches young people the principles of teamwork and striving for excellence as much as football, and Manchester United leads the way in teaching the values of UNICEF. We also believe we can help Manchester United strengthen its brand positioning in the US.”

Finally, Prosperi was tested on his football knowledge and asked who he thought United should spend their money on this summer.

“That would be like me telling the general manager of the Chicago Bulls who they should pick in this week’s NBA draft! I like basketball but I don’t know the needs of the club, so I will leave that decision to their general manager. All I can say is that we at Aon are already enjoying the working relationship we have with our colleagues at Manchester United and we are looking forward to enjoying their many successes in the upcoming seasons.”

Finally, what operational interaction or influence will Aon have with the Glazer family? No answer could be given.