The new signs being put up by Astra Signs at Manchester City's ground Etihad Airways Stadium
It's out with the old and in with the Blue at Manchester City – with the new name for the club’s stadium on display for the world to see, courtesy of Astra signs, who did the printing and the installation.
The ground, formerly known as the City of Manchester Stadium, was renamed the Etihad Stadium last month as part of a sponsorship deal with the Abu Dhabi-based airline worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
A giant cherry picker was yesterday installing sky-blue posters and signs bearing the Etihad name on the stands and entrances to the 47,800-capacity stadium.
The Blues kick off the Premier League season on Monday, with the visit of Welsh newcomers Swansea City. Work at the ground is going on around-the-clock as the kick-off draws closer.
As widely predicted, Etihad won the battle to sponsor the stadium – built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games – as well as the club’s shirts. The land around the ground has become the ‘Etihad Campus’ as part of the deal. The cash will help bankroll the transformation of the area over the coming years.
It will see City, who moved to the stadium from Maine Road in 2003, shift their training operation from Carrington.
Proposals currently out to consultation include a ‘world-beating’ complex of pitches and medical facilities, as well as a 7,000-seater stadium for the club’s youth teams. The club wants 80 per cent of the 250 expected jobs to go to local workers. No plans have yet been revealed for land immediately next to the stadium but it is understood proposals are being discussed.
The naming rights deal was seen as a big boost to the Blues, who will play in the Champions League for the first time this season. They need to comply with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules which stipulate clubs must not post aggregate losses of more than £40.5m over the next three years. The deal, which will see the airline sponsor the stadium for the next 10 years, is said to be the most expensive football sponsorship deal ever.
The club are also expected to feature in in-flight entertainment on Etihad flights.