THOMAS Cook claims it will recoup the near £3 million
it has spent on becoming Manchester City Football Club’s sponsor and travel
partner within the three years of the deal.
The travel giant said it only agreed to the
last-minute deal because it meant the chance to promote the whole company – its
shops, airline, television channel, website and tour operation – which all come
under the same name.
Thomas Cook UK chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa
said: “We got the sponsorship on a distressed purchase basis because of current
sponsors First Advice’s situation. We believe financially we will break even
within three years.”
Fontenla-Novoa, an avid Chelsea fan, said he would
promote individual tour operators but would never have agreed to the deal if it
only advertised one name, such as JMC.
The deal covers shirt sponsorship for the 2004/05
season, until then home and away shirts remain sponsored by First Advice which
ceased trading in May. Thomas Cook also gets immediate branding of the new
48,000-seater stadium, training facility, club publications and website. The
company will provide travel arrangements to the supporters’ club of 500,000
fans, will have 500 tickets per game to sell as packages, and access to