Manchester United recently confirmed their decision to buy-back their front-shirt sponsorship rights from TeamViewer but they have yet to find a suitable successor.
According to EPL World, the Saudi Tourism Authority were very interested in becoming the new sponsors, but the negotiations have now formally ended with the Red Devils.
The Gulf state wanted to promote their ‘Visit Saudi’ platform. A meeting was held with CEO Richard Arnold but they have decided against signing the initial contact.
Here are three reasons why the deal broke down:
Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit
Looking at the pictures leaked by EPL World, it is quite clear that Ronaldo’s presence was a key part of the project and talks were definitely held before the World Cup.
His departure by mutual consent probably ended United’s chances of striking an agreement. Ronaldo has now signed for Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr until June 2025.
It won’t be a surprise if the Saudi Tourism Authority try to negotiate a deal with the Riyadh outfit.
Man Utd’s potential sale
While Ronaldo’s exit was confirmed last month, the Glazers also announced that they would be exploring ‘strategic alternatives‘ which include a possible sale.
The Raine Group have since been appointed as advisors for a takeover. It is anticipated that United will see a change of ownership before the end of March.
This has possibly influenced the sponsorship decision as there is the prospect of the new owner/consortium canceling the proposed shirt deal.
Newcastle United & Business rivalry
Saudi’s Public Investment Fund are the main shareholders at Newcastle United. The Magpies are currently on the up with the huge money invested into the club.
Considering the ‘Visit Saudi’ project is also government-owned, there may have been a conflict of interest.
The other reason could be United’s potential takeover from a Qatar or Dubai-based consortium. Saudi may not want to promote their tourism with a club owned by their Middle East business rivals.
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