Google to sponsor Manchester United soccer club?

By Andy McCue 
Special to CNET News.com
Published: November 28, 2005, 11:13 AM PST


Manchester United is in talks with a number of global high-tech giants, including Google, about replacing Vodafone as its shirt sponsor, according to reports.

Vodafone announced last week that it is ending its four-year deal to have its name on the British soccer club's shirts two years early, at the end of the current soccer season.

The club's new owners, the U.S.-based Glazer family, are now believed to be in advanced talks with some of the biggest global brands--many of them from the high-tech industry--about replacing the cellular service provider. The Glazers won a controversial $1.4 billion (800 million pounds) takeover bid for the internationally known soccer club earlier this year.

In other news:

Vodafone's deal is set at 9 million pounds, or about $15.5 million. Some of the names reportedly thought to be willing to top that include Google, IBM and Yahoo, according to a report this weekend in British newspaper The Observer.

The paper, citing sources in London's financial center, said the Vodafone brand is not well-known in the U.S. and the termination of the deal gives the Glazer family the opportunity to bag a bigger global brand that will help give Manchester United a higher profile in America.

Two of the nontech brands believed to be in talks with the soccer club are Coca-Cola and Levi Strauss.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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