Commercial boost for Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Vietnam will now be added to the list of potential Manchester United Far East tour destinations.

On another good day for United's commercial department, when it was revealed they had secured a "ground-breaking" £40million sponsorship deal with DHL for their training kit, they were also able to unveil a more modest partnership with leading mobile telecommunications provider Beeline to cover Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

And that raises the potential for Vietnam to be included on any subsequent tours of the region, which could resume next summer after successive trips to the United States.

"We have been to most parts of the Far East over the years," reflected Ferguson.

"People have said we must go to Vietnam. I am sure there will be an opportunity for us."

Whilst United's 'territory specific' approach to commercial deals has been established for some time, leading to them becoming the first club to break through the £100 million barrier in that sector alone when their results are announced later this year, it is the DHL deal which shows how valuable the club has become as a sponsorship vehicle.

The logistics company are paying roughly half the sum Aon invested to put their names on United's shirts even though European games - the only regular occasion on which the wider media are admitted to Carrington for training - are not included.

Indeed, at £10million-a-year, it is exceeded by only Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, plus Manchester City's far more complicated tie-up with Etihad Airlines, for their matchday kit.

Main sponsors Aon are believed to have been made fully aware of negotiations to prevent any disquiet and United's players will wear the new training kit in their warm-up ahead of this evening's Premier League encounter with Tottenham at Old Trafford.

"This deal breaks new ground in the English game," said United chief executive David Gill.

Commercial director Richard Arnold went further.

"The world's number one game is football," he said.

"Manchester United is the number one club and we are offering the number one marketing platform to fantastic partners."

And, whilst DHL, Aon and shirt manufacturers Nike are now United's most visible partners, Arnold confirmed that given the ongoing turbulence in financial markets, the Far East, with its estimated 190million United supporters, is going to become even more important.

"Many economies in that part of the world have been largely undented from the impact of the credit crunch," he said.

"Asia has gone from strength to strength in both capital and consumption-based growth.

"Given that situation and the fact such a huge proportion of our fans are based in Asia, it will continue to be a huge part of our business going forward."

It is claimed by United that 16 million of Vietnam's 89 million population are supporters.

Clearly, the vast majority will never get anywhere near Old Trafford, hence the eagerness with which fans lap up the opportunity to have match information and post-game interviews delivered to their mobiles - which, according to Beeline executives, are viewed as a status symbol in themselves.

For Ferguson, none of this comes as a shock.

He has seen at first hand the frenzy United are capable of creating, which explains why the Glazer family appear intent on floating part of the club in Singapore later this year.

"It is the impact of football and the advent of satellite television," he said.

"It has enabled matches to be shown across the world.

"We were told by the Premier League last week that its product is sold in 212 countries. I didn't even know there were that many.

"In Britain support comes through tradition, from fathers and grandfathers. In the Far East it is a new thing.

"The Premier League is attractive and people want to support a team."


general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before