Manchester United team up with Azeri telecoms company

Reuters, Monday 15 Oct 2012

English Premier League soccer club Manchester United have signed their first sponsorship deal in a former Soviet country, teaming up with Bakcell, a telecoms company in Azerbaijan

Manchester United team
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, right, vies for the ball with Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 (Photo: AP)

The three-year agreement announced on Monday is one of a number of local sponsorship deals done by United, English champions a record 19 times, who enjoy a large following around the globe.

The club's international commercial expansion is a model that rivals are keen to emulate.

Bakcell will broadcast the club's MUTV channel in Azerbaijan, while its mobile subscribers will also be offered club news and video highlights.

"This new agreement is another first for Manchester United, with it being the only partnership the club has in the country," its commercial director Richard Arnold said.

United have 659 million followers around the globe, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the club earlier this year.

Around 1.68 million of them were in Azerbaijan, a country of more than 9 million people which is wedged between Russia and Iran on the Caspian Sea.

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