D.C. United, Sunderland join forces

DC UnitedMLS’s D.C. United and Barclays Premier League’s Sunderland AFC are joining forces on a partnership that will see both squads see increased marketing in both North America and Europe.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with Sunderland AFC and its global fan base,” said D.C. United Chief Operating Officer Tom Hunt. “Through this partnership we look to share best practices on both the technical and commercial side, while also helping Sunderland increase its brand recognition in the nation’s capital and throughout the U.S.”

“Interest in football is growing massively in the USA, and our partnership with D.C. United will provide both clubs with an excellent opportunity to grow and evolve in each other’s market,” said Sunderland AFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson. “This is a major step forward for Sunderland AFC and a really exciting development for us in the U.S. marketplace. We are continually looking at new ways to develop our international profile and our partnership with D.C. United will help us to build closer links with this key territory.”

One could argue that despite Sunderland AFC’s great record — seven consecutive seasons at the top level of English soccer since winning the 2006-07 Championship title — it doesn’t have the same following in the United States as enjoyed by Manchester United or Liverpool FC. Similarly, D.C. United, despite being one of the most successful teams playing in one of America’s most cosmopolitan cities, could use some worldwide exposure.

There are obviously some details to work out; the announcement from D.C. United promised “shared expertise, benefit and promotion,” and whether it extends to things like player loans remains to be seen.

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August Publications