Arsenal Football Club and African mobile network operator Airtel have today signed a three-year partnership agreement which provides Airtel Africa with the opportunity to utilise the English Premier League side’s merchandising, hospitality and content rights in five countries – Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.
The agreement will help the north London side reach some of its 42million fans across the continent with Airtel customers in Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda having the opportunity to win match tickets to watch this summer’s pre-season tour fixture and receive exclusive Club content and news direct to handsets. In addition to the agreement, Airtel will be designated as the official mobile operator of the 2012 Arsenal Tour to Nigeria.
Arsenal will also support the Airtel Rising Stars football program, an annual, multi-country grassroots soccer initiative that offers young boys and girls the opportunity to play compete and showcase their talent to selectors in their respective countries. The selected youngsters get an opportunity to get the best-in-class sports training during a residential clinic organized by Airtel and her partners. The Gunners will provide UEFA-trained coaches to assist with training in each of the five markets and at an Arsenal Coaching Clinic for up to 50 footballers.
Airtel Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers commented: “Football fans across Africa are known for their passion of the great game. Arsenal’s exciting style of play and a history of working with the best talent from Africa will enrich this partnership and offer a wealth of opportunities for upcoming players and fans. The partnership provides an impetus to the Airtel Rising Stars in some of the countries that have produced amazing young talent and whose youth teams have gone on to win FIFA Youth and Olympic tournaments.’’
Arsenal’s Head of Global Partnerships Vinai Venkatesham added: “I am delighted to welcome Airtel into our family of Commercial Partners. This is the second long-term partnership arrangement to arise from the continent and we look forward to developing a number of exciting initiatives with Airtel, starting with our forthcoming tour to Nigeria in August. This underlines the depth of our following in Africa and how the profile of the Club continues to grow internationally.”
It is the Club’s second pre-season tour to Africa, having played a fixture in South Africa in 1993. The 2012 visit will feature a game between the Arsenal first-team and the Nigerian National Team the Super Eagles on Saturday 5th August. Airtel is in the process of finalising arrangements that will give selected consumers a chance to watch the match and interact with the team in Abuja. The details of the promotion will be announced soon.
Founded in 1886, in Woolwcih, south London before moving to Highbury in 1913, Arsenal is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
The Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in the 2011/2012 season, with an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners 10 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once. In addition, Arsenal Ladies are the most successful English club in women’s football.
Arsenal’s Manager since 1996 has been Frenchman Arsène Wenger. Wenger is Arsenal Football Club’s most successful manager and his honours include three League titles, four FA Cups and four Charity/Community Shields, including two League and Cup ‘doubles’ in 1998 and 2002. In addition, Arsenal went unbeaten for the entire 2003/04 Premier League season, an unprecedented achievement in English football.
In 2006 Arsenal embarked on a new chapter in its history with a move from its home of 93 years, Highbury Stadium, to the new state-of-the-art 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium.