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Aon and Manchester United—after one year, It's A Perfect Match

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My disappointment in watching Manchester United, our global partner whose players wear the Aon logo on their world-renowned team jersey, lose last month to Barcelona in the European Championship final, was somewhat alleviated when I learned that the Fox Network earned a 1.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the match. This was a 64% increase from the network’s premier broadcast last year, and a sizeable jump from ESPN’s 1.0 rating for its 2009 broadcast of the European Championship.

Manchester United’s loss does not take anything away from what has been a perfect match for Aon as we complete the first year of our global sponsorship. It takes nothing away from a stellar season in which the club won its record 19th Premier League Championship. The affiliation with the No. 1 team in the world’s No. 1 sport has given Aon an unparalleled opportunity for brand exposure and a unique opportunity to unite our company.

The reach that Manchester United-related events, broadcasts and products have around the world is truly amazing. Their matches are broadcast in more than 1 billion homes in more than 220 countries, attracting an estimated weekly audience of nearly 90 million throughout their season. Manchester United has its own television channel, MUTV, which is broadcast in nearly 200 million homes via cable or the Internet in more than 100 countries. Their website, www.manutd.com, generates more than 60 million page impressions per month, with 70% coming from outside the U.K. Millions of fans are signed up to receive the team’s email newsletters, and within one year Manchester United has developed the fastest growing page on Facebook of any sports team on the planet, with more than 500,000 fans per month choosing to engage with the club in social media.

But the biggest benefit we are receiving from the sponsorship is that it is uniting our more than 60,000 global colleagues with the qualities of our brand, which include value, service, teamwork and global expertise. The ability to bring our company together behind a single element that has similar brand values is a unique opportunity that we are working hard to capture.

As I think back on the first year of the sponsorship, it is clear that more people are asking about Aon. We have become part of the game. We will see if it stands the test of time, but when you think of how many young people in China and elsewhere are going to be exposed to the Manchester United jersey with the Aon logo on it, that is something that is going to pay dividends for 50 years, whether our sponsorship is active or not.

Aon will win regardless of Manchester United’s record on the pitch, because the club’s values align with ours. For both sides, it is the striving for excellence, it is the desire to compete and win, it is the preparation for the match or the sales call, it is the teamwork demonstrated on the pitch or in the board room, that make both of our organizations so well suited to this partnership.

It is a perfect match!

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