Saturday, July 23, 2005

AirAsia in regional sponsorship deal with ManU

Manchester United has announced a one-year global advertising and sponsorship deal with AirAsia, marking the first time that a low-cost Malaysian-based airline has successfully associated with an English Premier League football club. The agreement, which includes global advertising and sponsorship activities both above and below the line, will begin in August and cover AirAsia’s associated companies Thai AirAsia and Awair in Indonesia. The airline did not reveal what budget it intended to invest in the club.

Manchester United and AirAsia officially signed the pact yesterday at a press conference at the the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong, where United will kick off their Asian tour today. The signing ceremony featured executives from both companies and 250 media representatives from the region.

David Gill, the club’s chief executive, said United was now expanding its network into Asia and around the world. The clubs’ commercial director, Andy Anson, said it was very exciting to sign a deal with a “vibrant” company like AirAsia “that serves such a diverse market”.

AirAsia’s chief executive officer, Tony Fernandes, said the football club provided high-quality products for its fans and AirAsia wanted to be associated with that. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, said the sponsorship deal would allow the carrier to share the enthusiasm of the EPL, one of the most popular football leagues in the world. He also pointed out that both companies shared the same colour, red, which would be mutually beneficial.