The Malta Independent 22 September 2020, Tuesday

Cost of Malta Tourism Authority-Manchester United deal shrouded in secrecy

Sunday, 15 September 2019, 09:00 Last update: about 2 years ago

Sources put a €7 million price tag on high visibility Premier League deal

The government, through the Malta Tourism Authority, may have signed what promises to be a most rewarding partnership with fabled English Premier League side Manchester United, but the fact that the financials of the deal have been shrouded in secrecy has raised eyebrows.

In fact, when asked what kinds of sums were involved in the transaction, both the government and Manchester United have kept their lips firmly sealed.

Meanwhile, a number of sources speaking to this newspaper have suggested the three-year deal, signed by Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi on Friday, comes with a price tag of €7 million.


Mizzi, on his part, insisted at the signing ceremony on Friday that the reason the price tag is not being disclosed is that it is 'commercially sensitive due to global relevance'.

Follow-up questions sent to Manchester United were met with a similar wall of silence, with a club spokesperson telling The Malta Independent on Sunday: "Please note that we don't discuss financial details of our partnerships."

The silence is curious considering the government will eventually have to report the cost of the transaction in its accounts, and the fact that since Manchester United is a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, the cost of the deal will also eventually be made public on its balance sheet.

Through the deal, Malta has become the club's official destination partner and promotions began appearing immediately on Manchester United's website right after pen had been put to paper in Manchester.

In fact, Visit Malta advertisements were being displayed on the Old Trafford hoardings yesterday, when they met Leicester City FC.

Speaking at the club's AON Training Complex in Carrington on Friday, Mizzi heralded the deal, saying that Malta will not only be able to consolidate itself in traditional markets, but it will also look to expand to other markets through Manchester United, such as the United States of America or Far East Asian countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea.

He said that the agreement will see Malta given added visibility, especially through hoardings at Manchester United's home, Old Trafford. The club's first team players will also be involved in promoting the partnership, while Malta will look to leverage the club's coverage on social media.  The Manchester United logo will feature on all Malta Tourism Authority documentation.

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