Vodafone offers branded Man Utd mobile phones

Vodafone is to launch Manchester United-branded phones at the start of next season as part of its &£30m, four-year sponsorship deal with the club.

The phones will offer Man Utd fans special services – such as club news, goal updates and player information – through the Internet.

Vodafone commercial and marketing director Paul Donovan says: “We will effectively provide a wireless portal to manchesterunited.com, which will enable all fans to go to the Website and keep in closer contact with the club.”

Both brands have a global presence. Man Utd matches are shown in 128 countries, while Vodafone services are accessible in 104.

By the end of the year, new technology will speed up data transfer to mobiles. By 2002, “third generation” mobiles will provide video-based services, such as clips and postcards. Mobile e-commerce capabilities are also in the pipeline.

Vodafone has yet to decide whether the Man Utd phones will be pre-pay packages or part of a subscriber-based service. They will be sold through a wide range of retail channels, rather than ones specific to the club or sports in general.

The sponsorship gives Vodafone the right to use the Man Utd brand in advertising and promotions.

Donovan says separate negotiations would be required if Vodafone wanted to use the team or individual players in its branded ads, adding that the company has no plans to do so.

But Vodafone plans to increase its advertising around football matches. Last year, it spent &£23m on UK ads (AC Nielsen), with BMP OMD handling media.

Vodafone Interactive has signed a deal with BSkyB to develop sports, news and entertainment content that can be delivered to mobiles through the Internet and short messaging services.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here