Sunderland football club deal with South Korean sailing team in bid to bolster overseas audience

PLAIN SAILING: How the Team Korea yacht will look when the Sunderland AFC badge is added to its livery.
PLAIN SAILING: How the Team Korea yacht will look when the Sunderland AFC badge is added to its livery.
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SAFC’S crest is to take to the high seas as its bosses look to capitalise on a worldwide audience.

Sunderland AFC has signed a “significant seven-figure deal” with Team Korea, with the club’s badge being printed on the side of the sailing crew’s yacht for the America’s Cup.

The 18-month partnership was completed in time for the start of the new football season and will lead to other high-profile branding projects, with the Team Korea logos to go on show inside the Stadium of Light throughout Premier League games.

The club has said the move shows its ambitions for greater international exposure.

The sailing challenge, which starts in San Francisco tomorrow, is expected to reach an 
audience of up to 8.5million, while the football league is the most- watched in the world and is broadcast across 212 countries to an audience of 4.5billion people.

The deal follows on from the club’s pioneering shirt sponsorship deal with not-for-profit organisation Invest in Africa and the launch of an international football academy in Malta with the support of its government and its opposition party, and another in Korea with the backing of the Korean Peace Cup committee.

Mike Farnan, Sunderland AFC’s international and national marketing director, said: “This partnership with Team Korea is another huge step forward for the club as we continue to extend our awareness across continents.”

The club’s chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “As the team works hard on the field, so our commercial team works hard off the field to create a greater recognition and understanding of our brand around the world.

“Sunderland AFC has, at its very heart, a focus on team work, community spirit and success.”

Dong Young Kim, chief executive of Team Korea, said the sponsorship backs up the strong connection between Korea and the city, with the team going on pre-season tour in South Korea and its striker Ji Dong Won also in the squad.

“This is a great opportunity for both partners to expand their reach to a wider audience offering a more attractive opportunity for prospective sponsors,” he said.

Team Korea will feature skipper Nathan Outteridge, who won gold for Australia in at the London Olympics.

The America’s Cup is split in to three sections.

The AC World Series will see regattas held in Naples and Venice in addition to the starting race and will end in May.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham