When Manchester City FC announced their £400m deal with Etihad Airways, cynics were quick to point out it seemed a clever way to increase the club’s income via a related Abu Dhabi business, ensuring MCFC’s defecit stayed the right side of the UEFA fair play regulations. Arsene Wenger and Ian Ayre quickly called foul and, along with others, questioned whether the process had been credible, fair, and whether the deal reflected market value.
Truth is this won’t have been taken to market in any meaningful sense, but MCFC aren’t a government entity and so have no obligation to do so. If they got an unsolicited offer significantly above the value they had assigned to those rights they would be entitled to take the offer. If that offer was from Coke, Samsung or any non-affiliated company no-one would have batted an eyelid.
This isn’t a process question, they can sell the rights however they like, it’s an ownership issue and a flaw in the fair play regulations.