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SBD Global/July 9, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

ManU Signs Five-Year Partnership With Russian Airline Aeroflot; Does Not Disclose Terms

ManU on Monday announced a five-year partnership with Aeroflot. The Moscow-based int'l airline becomes ManU's official carrier. The partnership marks ManU's first commercial venture in Russia -- where it has close to 18 million followers (ManU). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported Aeroflot is a sponsor of the Sochi 2014 Olympics and replaces Turkish Airlines as ManU's partner. Financial terms "were not disclosed." Although "United and Aeroflot may sound like an unlikely combination, there is already heavy Russian investment" in European football through owners including Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and sponsors such as Gazprom (REUTERS, 7/8). In London, Roger Blitz reported the terms were not disclosed, but Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev "admitted it was 'expensive.'" Saveliev added, "The value of the contract is quite reasonable." The agreement "is the latest in a series of sponsorship deals driven by the club’s London-based commercial team as it looks to exploit its reputation." Aeroflot becomes one of the club’s dozen global partners, but ManU also "cuts deals with companies to give them exclusivity within their geographic regions." The deal is a departure for Aeroflot, "which traditionally sticks to Russian sports clubs and events for its sponsorship activity, such as football club CSKA Moscow and the Sochi Winter Olympics" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/8).
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