November 28, 2005 11:13 AM PST
Google to sponsor Manchester United soccer club?
- Related Stories
Google fixes glitch that unleashed flood of pornNovember 23, 2005
Google shopping service to list user's local storesNovember 22, 2005
Mark Cuban eyes Pittsburgh PiratesNovember 7, 2005
Vodafone to sell phones like CokeOctober 28, 2005
Milk, baseball's next scandal?October 27, 2005
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.
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.