Manchester United’s $183m training ground sponsorship with AON

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Manchester United may have massive debt but it continues to head one direction – down.

In a ground-breaking deal United has reached an eight year $183m agreement with AON for the naming rights to the Red Devils’ Carrington training ground. Beginning on July 1st the training ground will be known as the “AON Training Complex.” The training ground name rights further buttresses AON’s commercial relationship with United, which includes sponsorship of United’s training kit, their annual summer tours and friendly matches.

The AON deal compliments other major sponsorship agreements that United has procured including the seven year $546m deal they signed with General Motors to have “Chevrolet” on their shirts starting in 2014. An AON source said the company were delighted with the training ground deal. “We are very aware and respectful of the fact some people will continue to call the training complex Carrington but in time, we hope they come to understand what the AON brand stands for,” said the source.

The sale of the Carrington sale prompted suggestions that United could end up selling the name rights to Old Trafford. That worry, however, was quickly dismissed by Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, who confirmed that “Old Trafford will not be sold.”

Since borrowing $787m to complete their $1.2b takeover of the club seven years ago the Glazer family has become increasingly active in reducing Manchester United’s debt. In addition to massive sponsorship deals the decision to go public on the New York Stock Exchange last August has (as of February 2013) already cut the club’s debt to $550m, down 17 percent from a year earlier.

Manchester United supporters will hope that the next major sponsorship deal the club agrees to is an extension of the current $463m kit supply deal with Nike. February marked the start of an exclusive six-month negotiating period between United and Nike where part of the alleged agenda was to fund a bid to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.

For now the new AON deal ensures that if the Portuguese winger does make a dramatic return to Old Trafford, United already have an additional $23m per year to fund his wages.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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MLS: Higuain extends with Crew, Royer gets new deal with Red Bulls

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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.

The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.

Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.

Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.

UEL: Griezmann nabs crucial away goal vs. Arsenal, Marseille cruises

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A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.

The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.

The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.

Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.

The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.


Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg