The deal was signed after the Red Devils beat Milan 4-0 and is the telecommunication company’s second large-scale English football sponsorship deal announced this year, after the agreement with the England Football Association earlier this year to sponsor the England National team on a one-year contract.
Malaysia’s connection with the Red Devils began in 2005 when Air Asia put up A-boards in Old Trafford. The low-cost airline later went to sponsor patches in the match officials’ uniforms. Another company involved in English football was Proton when it sponsored Norwich City football club.
The deals come amid the staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year with TM hoping to capitalise on the popularity of England’s star-studded line-up among Malaysian football enthusiasts, by featuring player images on their products as well as carrying out other promotional activity related to the England team during the
6-week competition, which kicks-off on June 11.
Manchester United, which is also Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s favourite English club, will now recognise TM as the official “Integrated Telecommunications Partner” of Manchester United in Malaysia.
The partnership will bring online content to both Manchester United supporters and TM customers, as well as giving fans the chance to win trips to Old Trafford to watch the team play.
“Our commercial strategy continues to deliver exciting new opportunities. We know that this partnership will help the Club to speak to the millions of fans we have in Malaysia and we are delighted that Telekom Malaysia has developed from the sponsor of our tour match into a fully-fledged partner. We look forward to working with them,” club chief executive David Gill said in remarks published at its website.
Malaysia’s dominant fixed-line company successfully sponsored the Manchester United Asia Tour 2009 which brought the Barclays Premier League champions to Kuala Lumpur for a match with a Malaysian selection last July 18.The Jakarta hotel bomb blasts a few days before the team was due to arrive in the Indonesian capital prompted an unscheduled second friendly at the same Bukit Jalil National Stadium venue on July 20 which was sold out in football-crazy Malaysia.
“Over 40,000 attended our training session and another 40,000 came to the second match in Kuala Lumpur, despite only having 48 hours’ notice of the fixture,” Gill added.
Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who witnessed the signing, lauded the Malaysian fan base for the club after the deal was signed.
“The size of our fan base in Malaysia, and the affection they have for our club, is phenomenal. The statistic that almost 25 per cent of the Malaysian population support Manchester United is staggering, quite incredible,” he said.
The Manchester United Asia Tour 2009 cost TM about RM3.5million but was said to have helped the company generate more than RM20million in direct revenue from the sale of TM products and services.
Last week, TM announced the release of limited edition iTalk cards featuring the likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and John Terry. The iTalk cards are available in RM10, RM20, RM30 denominations.
It is understood that there are other spin-offs from the deal.
“Manchester United created a lot of enthusiasm for football when they came on tour last summer," said Datuk Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, the TM Group CEO, after the deal was signed.
“Over the course of this deal I would like to see some of the younger talents in Malaysia go to Manchester United to train and maybe the other way round.
“That will only help our country to progress,” he added. - Malaysian Insider.