SUNDERLAND have signed a football partnership with top American club DC United.
The agreement between the two clubs will see Sunderland AFC and DC United share coaching and business expertise, alongside promoting each other in their respective markets.
One of the biggest and most successful clubs in Major League Soccer, DC United has won 13 international and domestic titles since the clubs’ inception into the MLS in 1996. D.C. United also holds the MLS records for the most MLS Cups and Supporters’ Shields.
Interest in the Premier League in the USA is at an all-time high with major broadcasting service NBC securing the rights to show all 380 top flight games live across its network.
Through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League, Sunderland AFC will help to promote the D.C. United brand in over 200 countries. A cumulative audience of a phenomenal 4.7 billion makes the Barclays Premier League the most watched sporting league in the world and provides a perfect platform for DC United to engage with a worldwide audience.
DC United in turn will work closely with Sunderland AFC to help the club increase its presence across the vast American continent. The two clubs will also work together on joint initiatives in both the UK and the US, with the Black Cats supporting D.C. United as they look to maximise the use of their proposed new stadium from a football and business perspective.
The two cities of Sunderland and Washington, DC already hold a friendship agreement and the partnership between the two football clubs is seen as another step forward in strengthening the warm relationship that exists.
One of US Soccer’s most high profile stars, striker Jozy Altidore, signed for Sunderland AFC in the summer of 2013.
Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director at Sunderland AFC said: “Interest in football is growing massively in the USA, and our partnership with DC United will provide both clubs with an excellent opportunity to grow and evolve in each other’s market.
“This is a major step forward for Sunderland AFC and a really exciting development for us in the US marketplace.”
He added: “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.”
Tom Hunt, chief operating officer of DC United said: “We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with Sunderland AFC and its global fan base.
“Through this partnership, we look to share best practices on both the technical and commercial side, while also helping Sunderland increase its recognition in the nation’s capital and throughout the US”
The Black Cats have also developed links throughout Asia and Africa, highlighted by principal sponsor Bidvest, the building of an academy in Tanzania with American-based company Symbion Power, and football partnerships with Ghanaian football club Asante Kotoko and South African team Bidvest Wits.
DC is also a partner of Inter Milan (FC Internazionale) of Serie A, and is highlighted by its principal sponsor, Leidos Inc, based in Reston, Virginia.