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:
- Cost questions dog
- Hard-disk jockey spins electricity
- Google: What you get for $400 a share
- Gadgets and more for holiday shoppers
- CNET's Holiday Helpdesk: Still have questions?
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.