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United strike deal with film company

Manchester United have struck the first deal between a football club and a film company.   Major films from 20th Century Fox will be advertised in Premier League matches and in post-match interview backdrops.

Premier League games are broadcast to 730 million homes each week with Manchester United accounting for more than half of the league's global TV audience.   During the 2013-14 season the club's biggest match was watched by 82 million people, and it has estimated that its global audience for the season was 3 billion.

Crystal Palace focus on US

After receiving investment from the United States, Crystal Palace intend to focus on the development of their fanbase and their commercial strategy there.   The club is currently the subject of a 'fly on the wall' documentary being shown on American television.

Sponsors tell United to be less boring

In a rather unusual intervention the chief executive officer of major Manchester United sponsors adidas has said that he wants to see the team playing more attractive football.   The kit sponsor signed a record £750m ten year deal with the club last year.

Jimmy Hill and shirt sponsorship

Today shirt sponsorship is an accepted part of football.   Even the smallest non-league teams have their shirts sponsored by, say, a local pub or scaffolding company.   However, it was not always the case and it was Jimmy Hill who made the breakthrough.

He brought in shirt sponsorship at Coventry City, threatening to rename them Coventry Talbot unless allowed to place logos and names on the club shirt.   Television refused to show them, so Coventry wore a different strip when the cameras were in town.

Barca want to be first €1bn club

Barcelona have a six year plan to become the first club with €1bn in revenues.  Current revenues are €600m and it is felt necessary to lift them to counter the growing financial clout of the Premier League.

Scarves as symbols of protest

Paul Breen discusses how scarves have been adopted as symbols of protest by football fans.   This was started with the green and gold protest at Manchester United.   It didn't dislodge the Glazers, but it did give a boost to the supporters' trust.    The tactic was also adopted by Arsenal fans over the issue of high ticket prices.

Half-and-half shirts

Half-and-half shirts (or scarves) made up of the kit of two opposing teams are a curious football phenomenon.   Some of them are evidently run up at home, but commentators see them as representative of broader unhealthy trends in the game.

Chinese president is Blue not Red

As part of his state visit to Britain, Chinese president Xi Jinping is to visit Manchester on Friday.  He is going to visit the Etihad stadium of Manchester City, snubbing their rivals Manchester United.  To ensure that the Reds do not feel excluded, some representatives of Manchester United will be invited to their rival's ground during the visit.

Rebranding Belgium

This post is an interesting piece of analysis on how the Belgium national team reconnected with its disilluisoned fans.   Part of the process was a 'rebranding' which involved a new red devils logo.

Of course, having a group of exciting and talented players that helped Belgium finish top of their European qualification group also helped.

Shirt sponsorship deals break through £200m barrier

Thanks to new deals at Chelsea and Liverpool, Premier League shirt sponsorship deals have broken through the £200m barrier for the first time.   The total value of all deals is now £218.65m.  This is over twice the value of all deals in the German Bundesliga.