Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialNews.

United seals African mobile deal

Airtel partnership will target 11 countries

Published on December 9th 2010.


United seals African mobile deal

It’s not the first thing you expect to hear when you walk into a press conference at Manchester United, featuring Sir Alex.

“No football questions today.”

Ok. So what shall we talk about? Presumably, FC United’s cup tie that evening was part of the reason, although you could smell the burning as the sports hacks thought of something, anything else.

We were here to hear about another commercial contract for United - a four-year tie-up with telecoms firm Bharti airtel, covering 11 countries in Africa.

According to Jonathan Ribgy, United’s marketing director, the Red Devils have 6.5 million fans in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. The new partnership is effectively a mobile phone content sales channel for United, into a continent that has more than a billion people in it. Crucially, 75 per cent of African ‘customers’ are under 29, according to Andre Beyers, Ricgby’s equivalent at Bharti airtel, making them more likely to use a mobile phone.

The deal also involves something called the airtel Allstars, a talent search in Africa which could end up with footballing prospects having trials at United. The deal will also see competitions giving winners a chance to attend matches, coaching sessions and bag various other bits of merchandise.

Fergie said that in the years United have been going to Africa on tours, he’s seen a ‘wonderful affection’ for the club. “They love football over there, and they love United. You look at what they did with the World Cup and there’s obviously a big appetite for the game.”

Marketing bods from both camps were up front about the ‘robust commercial reasons’ for the deal, with plenty of talk about mobile content ‘connecting players and fans’. According to the press bumf doled out on the day, United’s website is the most visited sports website in the world.

United find themselves in a more competitive market off the pitch than ever before, however. The clubs circling them in the Premier League table are also the same brands vying for international market share and fan base – including City and all its wealth.

United’s saleability relies on trophies. Is Fergie under pressure to deliver? “We always want to be successful,” he said. “That’s the pressure we put on ourselves. Why would we not want to win things.”

And that was just about that. Any more questions? “Maybe we could ask him about cricket,” suggested one hack.

Maybe not.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Repeating,without any evidence the same point that socialism = public services is hardly…

 Read more
Anonymous

You absolutely right,I hate all these bloody nimbys stopping development and progress.Of course if…

 Read more
Anonymous

Manchester's size and climate isn't dissimilar to Rotterdam or Dusseldorf but the city is held back…

 Read more
Anonymous

Straying off the point again David, which is that investing in public services is socialist but as…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord