Manchester United have extended their commercial interests by announcing a partnership with Italian spirits brand Aperol, which becomes the "Club's Official Global Spirits Partner."
As the Wall Street Journal explains:
The deal, which runs until the end of the 2016/2017 season, will see Aperol branding visible during all domestic games at Old Trafford, as well official Club publications, MUTV and the official website. The partnership will also see the signature drink, Aperol Spritz available in the stadium's hospitality areas.
A celebration message of 'Cheers, United!' represents an exciting phase as Aperol develops its brand across the globe, extending into new markets developing outside its traditional Italian roots.
United's range of partners and sponsors extends from paints to mobile phones via medical systems—33 of them were charted by Eurosport last year. They have built a reputation for strong commercial dealings, and the latest tie-in is no different.
However, the announcement has been met with mockery on Twitter. Most fans and observers feel the club, currently suffering a poor season in the wake of David Moyes' appointment, should be talking about signing players rather than signing sponsorship deals.
With Aperol chief executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz's suggestion that the two brands both embody celebration and success (amongst other qualities), the jokes have written themselves:
Aperol is a brand that embodies success, celebration and sociability. The natural fit between the two brands makes the partnership one that will benefit both parties.
Over to Twitter:
I can only assume our new 'Global Spirits Partner' have been trying too much of their own product if they still want to link up with United.— Jay (@Jay_in_Essex) January 10, 2014
Manchester United announce new global spirits partner. "We have identified a new demand for hard liquor among our support," said Ed Woodward— John Brewin (@JohnBrewinESPN) January 10, 2014
'Manchester United's brand new spirits partner will allow you to drink enough to forget the immediacy of modern life.'— Nick Miller (@NickMiller79) January 10, 2014
United are currently seventh in the Premier League table and look like they will need to strengthen in January as they attempt to grab a Champions League place.
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