Manchester United announced a new partner as its official airline – Aeroflot, a Russian-based company. The new sponsor replaces the club’s previous dealings with Turkish Airlines.
In January 2010, Manchester United had signed with Turkish Airlines. Despite terms of that deal not being disclosed, several outlets estimated the sponsorship value to be between $4.3 and $4.8 million. The sponsorship was a three and half year agreement, ending at the beginning of this July.
The club announced its new airline sponsorship with Aeroflot at Old Trafford. The deal is for five years and is Manchester United’s first Russian-based sponsor. The club estimates is has 18 million supporters in Russia – a market seen as an opportunity for the club’s growth as a global brand.
As the Daily Mail pointed out, the airline’s campaign with Manchester United may be more about reclaiming its image in light of a far less than perfect safety record. The outlet also reported the sponsorship in mid-April despite its official announcement on Monday.
The timing of the sponsorship also aligns with the start of 2018 FIFA World Cup, which Russia has been selected to host. The agreement would conclude near the tournament’s final and allow Aeroflot to Manchester United within its advertising campaigns.
Ironically, Aeroflot does not provide flights to Manchester, according to Reuters. It is expected that the club will use Aeroflot’s services for flights around Europe for all matches other than those a part of the Barclays Premier League (i.e. UEFA Champions League).
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Based on previous estimates of Manchester United’s deal with Turkish Airlines, the new sponsorship with Aeroflot is worth more than $6.4 million over the course of five years, or $1.27 million per year.
Aeroflot’s CEO Vitaly Saveliev and Manchester United’s Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold, were joined by team manager, David Moyes, and the players to celebrate the partnership.
Following the announcement, Manchester United Group’s Managing Director, Richard Arnold, commented,
Manchester United and Aeroflot share several core values and we are pleased to be welcoming such a high quality company as a sponsor. Like the club, Aeroflot demonstrates team work, quality and a pride in its heritage, whilst still embracing new technologies and innovation.
Aeroflot is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, but has already impressed us with its youthful energy. We look forward to developing a meaningful partnership with them and reaching our fans in innovative and rewarding ways.
Founded in 1923, Aeroflot is Russia’s leading airline, having won ‘Best Airline in Eastern Europe’ at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards. Its other honors include the ‘Most Stylish Airline’ award by Skyscanner as well as Russia’s ‘Company of the Year 2012’. Aeroflot has 137 planes and one of the youngest fleets in Europe with an average age of five to six years. In 2012, the airline had 27.5 million customers. As a member of SkyTeam global airline alliance, Aeroflot and its partners provide services to more than 1,000 destinations in 178 countries.
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