Manchester United remain adamant they will not sell the naming rights to Old Trafford and are not in talks with any commercial partner that would result in their ground being rebranded, sources have told ESPN FC.
Rumours on social media sites suggested United’s historic home could be renamed after kit manufacturers Nike in a lucrative deal that would enable them either to pay off debt or finance the signing of new players.
Forbes had reported in 2012 that, if the club did decide to sell the naming rights, experts believed a 20-year deal could be worth in the region of $1 billion, or $50 million (30 million pounds) a year, to the club.
However, United have maintained that there is absolutely no truth in stories that their ground will be rebranded to include a sponsor’s name and that there is no chance of it happening.
The club’s position on the matter has been consistent, and in April last year executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said their American owners, the Glazer family, would not countenance selling the naming rights to the stadium.
In December, he added: “It's important that Old Trafford is Old Trafford. The Glazers are actually very traditional in their views. People have asked us the question, asked us if we would consider [selling the naming rights]. We won't.”
In 2011, United director Sir Bobby Charlton, who is also the club’s 249-goal record scorer, said: “I can only say that it’s not our policy to change the name of Old Trafford. It’s too important.”
Without selling the naming rights, United’s income is projected to grow from 363 million pounds to between 420 and 430 million pounds this season.