Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bharti Airtel in partnership with Manchester United

(This entry was originally uploaded on May 2009.)

Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile operator in India, has had a 5-year content partnership deal signed with English premier league football club Manchester United, which is also the second richest football club in the world. With this deal, Bharti Airtel has now become the first ever Indian investor of Manchester United who are currently world as well as European champion and even English Champion.

Though the amount of the deal has not been disclosed yet, it seems to be a multi-million dollar deal by which Airtel would be able to offer Manchester United related content over mobile phone for its 94 million subscribers across India, Sri Lanka and Seychelles. Well, it seems to be a win-win situation for Bharti Airtel as well as Manchester United.

Popularity of football in India is increasing highly at this moment. In fact, the English premier league is now getting more and more popular among India’s young generation who are highly attracted by seeing some of world’s biggest stars in EPL through live telecast of matches every week in different TV channels. So, Bharti Airtel can now attract India’s young generation more easily by providing them Manchester United related content over phone. In fact, Manchester United is the most popular English club in India with about 12 millions fans. Under this deal, Airtel would organize some competitions for its subscribers and the winners would get the opportunity to attend United’s matches at its home ground Old Trafford as well as in Europe, and there would be an opportunity to be part of Manchester United Soccer School too. All these are pretty much lucrative offers for the football crazy young people in India. So, it is expected that Bharti Airtel might gain a big chunk of market share among India’s young football fans.

Because of global economic downturn, Manchester United has recently found it very difficult to get sponsors. In fact, the club’s long-term sponsor AIG recently expressed their reluctance to extend their contract with Manchester United. So, the deal with Bharti Airtel came as a big relief for the club. Moreover, the club also has some other advantages over the deal. Bharti Airtel has more than 94 million subscribers, and by this deal, this large number of people would now have access to United content over phone. So, this is a good opportunity for Manchester United to increase its fan-base in India, which, by many, is considered to be one of the future destinations of English premier league. Manchester United already has more than 330 million fan base across the world and there is not much room to increase the number in England or in Europe. So, Asia has now become the next target market for European football and from this point of view, Manchester United seems to have signed a very significant deal with Bharti Airtel.

Related article:

The Economic Times

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