Airtel become 1st Indian sponsors of Man Utd

MANCHESTER: Telecoms group Bharti Airtel has become the first Indian sponsor of Manchester United after signing a five-year deal with the English and European Champions.

The agreement, the value of which was not disclosed, will enable Airtel to offer their mobile customers video clips of the club's games and other United-related content.

It was announced at United's Old Trafford stadium on Friday in the presence of manager Sir Alex Ferguson and star strikers Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.

Sanjay Kapoor, the deputy CEO of Airtel, said the company was delighted to be associated with a club with United's global appeal.

"Football is definitely seeing a growing interest amongst the young population in India," he said. "We are making a pioneering effort to bring them rich football content on their mobiles."

United chief executive David Gill said the deal was proof of the club's strength as a global brand and ability to find new partners at a time when sports sponsorship has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.

"This partnership demonstrates the enduring stregth of the club internationally," Gill said.

Bharti Airtel has just under 94 million mobile customers in India, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles, according to the company.