United teams up with PepsiCo in Asia-Pacific

English Premier League football club Manchester United has announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement in the Asia-Pacific region with American multi-national food and beverage company PepsiCo.

Under the deal, PepsiCo becomes United’s official soft drinks partner in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei and will hold exclusive rights to use the club’s branding on its products and point of sale material in these markets.

The Premier League champion said it has a fanbase in excess of 38 million in the countries in question, with the intention being for Pepsi’s experience in both football marketing and within the region to further increase this reach.

United has enjoyed a typically busy summer commercially but its deal with Russian national airline Aeroflot has come under criticism from the country’s government.

Aeroflot replaced Turkish Airlines as United’s official carrier in a five-year agreement signed earlier this month. The contract represented the club’s first deal with a Russian company, but Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin took to Twitter to question the partially state-owned airline’s commitment to its homeland after President Vladimir Putin urged it to invest in aircrafts domestically.

“Aeroflot prefers Anglo-Saxon football and basketball clubs to our planes? I might invite them for an intimate talk,” said Rogozin on his Russian Twitter account, as reported by Reuters.

He added in a later post: “State-owned companies should buy … our (Russian) aircraft. I will hold a meeting of producers and buyers on Aug 14.”

Aeroflot, which is also a sponsor of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Russian football team CSKA Moscow and US NBA basketball franchise the Brooklyn Nets, declined to comment and did not state whether Rogozin had formally invited its executives to discuss the United sponsorship.