Manchester United keeps getting richer and richer.
Today the Old Trafford club announced that they have sealed a deal with Russian airline Aeroflot to act as the club’s official carrier.
Aeroflot replaces Turkish Airlines as the 13th global sponsor for United. While the specific numbers of the deal have yet to be released, a club source said that the new arrangement offered better terms for United.
Manchester United’s Group managing director, Richard Arnold explained that the agreement was a landmark moment for United: “Today’s announcement marks the club’s first commercial venture in Russia, an expanding market we are keen to explore further.”
As is the case more often than not, the deal is about reaching new audiences as Arnold noted that United has “close to 18 million followers in Russia, demonstrating the partnerships potential audience in the country.”
The deal with Aeroflot also reflects the increasing investment of Russian companies in European soccer, with companies such as natural gas behemoth, Gazprom, already backing a number of European clubs such as Chelsea and Schalke 04, as well as the Champions League itself. “We believe that such a great club as Manchester United will help us to promote our brand worldwide,” said Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev.
Interestingly, United will not actually fly on the Russian carrier as Aeroflot does not fly in and out of Manchester. Instead, Aeroflot will advise United on their travel arrangements throughout Europe and Asia, as well as promote itself on pitch-side advertising boards at Old Trafford.
The Aeroloft deal comes on the heels of a number of new sponsorship deals for United, which includes a seven year, $559 million dollar agreement that the club struck with General Motors to take over as the main shirt sponsor.
Adding to the intrigue for United supporters was Wayne Rooney’s presence during the sponsorship ceremony. The striker has been the source of constant transfer speculation throughout the summer and has yet to confirm his desire to remain at United with Moyes at the helm.