United have agreed a new three and a half year sponsorship deal with 3 Indonesia.
The brand, owned by Hutchison Telecommunications International, will have the rights to use the team’s club insignia, including the famous Red Devil club badge, and to broadcast exclusive video content throughout Indonesia. The deal comes at the perfect time for the club. Though the last 12 months have seen United crowned English, European and world champions, the club has been forced to search for a new shirt sponsor and additional revenue after the termination of its US$80 million deal with the American insurance corporation AIG.
The deal with 3 Indonesia comes just a few months before United’s summer tour of east Asia, its fifth in ten seasons. As well as being the team’s mobile sponsors within Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, 3 Indonesia will sponsor the Indonesian leg of that tour.
“3 Indonesia are the exclusive mobile sponsors of the team for Indonesia and are also sponsors of the Indonesian leg of the 2009 Asia tour,“ said 3 Indonesia chief commerical officer Suresh Reddy said. Neither side released financial details but industry experts speculate that the deal is worth a seven-figure annual sum, an achievement United will be looking to replicate in a number of other countries.
United is the second most valuable commercial property in world soccer, behind only Real Madrid, and would be ahead of the Spanish giants were it not for the strength of the Euro against the British pound. The club earns US$100 million per year from commercial revenues alone, with a total revenue stream of more than US$420 million. It has established a 20-strong team specifically to increase those commercial revenues, and country-specific deals such as this one, and a similar deal signed with Saudi Telecom Co, are seen as an important part of the process.
3 Indonesia also sponsors the country’s national team. Indonesia is a surprise candidate in the bidding to host the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups.
As of April 2009, the company has around 4.5 million customers on its GSM network.