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Manchester United dials in to Saudi
Saudi Telecom latest in line to sponsor international sporting teams.
August 17, 2008 10:19 by kippreport
Very soon every football team in Europe will have a benefactor from the Middle East. At least that’s how it seems. The latest to join in the sport sponsorship race is Saudi Telecom, which is reported to have made an around $18m deal with football club Manchester United.
The five-year deal that will grant the phone company rights to use Manchester United’s logo and imagery in its marketing within Saudi Arabia, report the Times. The arrangement is said to be one of the biggest non-shirt sponsorship deals in British football. As part of the tie-up, Saudi Telecom will be able to offer its mobile customers video clips of match highlights, a text news service and other related content.
While Saudi Telecom may be the first phone company from the region to join the club, airline companies in the region have been pouring money into such deals.
Just last month, it was announced that Gulf Air was to become the shirt sponsor of Queens Park Rangers, the eighth best football team in London.
The biggest, of course, is Emirates airline, which has an around $190m deal with Arsenal (including 15-year naming rights on the stadium). The company also signed a $200m deal to become FIFA’s official partner from 2007 to 2014.
Etihad Airways has a three-year deal with Chelsea to be a “platinum sponsor” and “official international airline partner.” The Etihad branding appears in the stadium, but not on the shirts.
Apart from football, money from the region is also being pumped into other international sports teams. While Etihad has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Ferrari team, the Formula One world champions, Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm, Mubadala also signed a deal to sponsor Ferrari’s Formula One team till 2010.
Emirates also has a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Formula One motor racing team McLaren Mercedes.
In 2006, Qatar Airways entered a four-year sponsorship agreement with the English Test Match Grounds as the official airline. The deal gives the airline in-stadia signage, marketing rights, tickets and hospitality for all the domestic and international cricket held at each of the seven Test Match Grounds until the end of the 2010 cricket season.