We kicked off the season with the announcement of a new ten-year partnership with PUMA in July 2019.

As part of the launch – our biggest ever – we revealed brand-new home and away kits inspired by Manchester industrial and cultural heritage, while the launch party featured local artist Bugzy Malone and a DJ set by Joleon Lescott, and the giant PUMA cat light boxes at the Etihad Stadium were officially switched on. The kit launch resulted in our highest ever day-one trade, a record that went on to be beaten shortly after by the launch of the 125th Anniversary shirt.

This season we also celebrated a number of renewals, a marker which we are always especially proud of, as it demonstrates the enduring value to both parties, including with Korean tire company, Nexen Tyre, which will continue as sleeve-partner for the fourth consecutive year and ongoing. MarathonBet became our first ever training kit partner for the men’s and women’s teams, extending their existing deal as Global Betting Partner.

We continued to attract new, exciting prestige brands to join our family of partners, welcoming Cisco, Nestlé and Midea to the fold. All of our new partners pivoted in creative and thoughtful ways following the COVID-19 outbreak – Midea created an ‘At Home Challenge’, Nestlé donated food for City in the Community, PUMA offered free UK delivery, and Cisco’s video conferencing became a central tool for connecting with fans and connecting fans with one another.

Accolades continued for our campaigns and activations, which took home seven major awards this year, including two at the Asia Sports Industry Awards, and Best Partnership of the Year for Manchester City and SAP at the Globe Soccer Awards 2019.

While the impact of COVID-19 has affected all parts of the global economy, we worked collaboratively with our partners to manage the impact as well as possible. Our partnerships continue to be considered best-in-class, driving tangible business impacts and high levels of satisfaction and results for our partners, and we saw more than ever the importance of our strong relationships and shared values in the wake of the pandemic.

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XYLEM end of Football

Etihad Airways Plane Livery

Tecno Race to Manchester City

Nissan Juke Launch

XYLEM End of Football

According to the UK Environmental Agency, we are just one generation away from water scarcity touching every aspect of our lives. To encourage football fans to engage with such a challenging topic, we wanted to create an emotional film, incorporating all the reasons why fans love the game, such as the pre-match rituals, the noise of the crowd, and the bonds football create in families.

The final product is ‘The End of Football’, which tells the emotional story of one girl’s life as a Manchester City fan, and how, in years to come, she will be unable to pass on her family’s footballing traditions if our complacency around water usage continues.

The opening image features an aged Phil Foden as City’s manager on the final game City will play next to a dry and cracked Etihad pitch, creating a shocking warning that we all need to act now to ‘save our future, and the game we love’. The film reached 8.4 million people on social platforms, with 1.9 million views and more than 200,000 positive engagements such as shares.

Etihad Airways Plane Livery

In October 2019, Etihad Airways unveiled a special Manchester City-themed livery design on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

City’s Chief Operating Officer Omar Berrada, City player Karen Bardsley and City legend Joleon Lescott met the plane after its inaugural journey from Abu Dhabi to Manchester. The specially painted airplane has been flying in and out of destinations including Manchester, Jordan, Spain, Indonesia and China.

The new City-themed livery is the first since 2011, when Etihad Airways unveiled the “Blue Moon Rising” A330-200 in celebration of its second daily service to Manchester.

Tecno Race to Manchester City

TECNO Race to Manchester City was a free virtual race around the world to Manchester for fans in India.

Over 40,000 participants took part in teams of two, logging their steps daily for the 60-day race. They competed in daily competitions and quizzes and one lucky team won the grand prize – a trip to watch City play at the Etihad Stadium.

The 90-day campaign saw a total of 35 million impressions and more than one million engagements across all platforms. The activation won awards for Best Asian Engagement and Best Asian Partnership at the Mass Participation World Awards 2019, and the Best Fan Engagement Campaign of the Year at the Asia Sports Industry Awards 2019.

Nissan Juke Launch

City stars Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and İlkay Gündoğan were challenged by Nissan to create a teaser film in one hour featuring the Next Generation Nissan Juke.

The 2.5-minute video, ‘A Little Bit Quick’, follows the drama of two special agents chasing the evil Dark Illy.

The players worked with a professional film crew and had to come up with characters and storylines as well as taking part in the action and car chase scenes. 2.4 million people watched the video, and there were 310,000 engagements.