Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 17:13 UK

Man Utd signs Indian phone deal

Cristiano Ronaldo
Man Utd is also on the lookout for a new shirt sponsor

Manchester United has signed a £10m ($15m) sponsorship deal with India's largest mobile phone network Airtel.

Under the deal, Airtel's 92 million subscribers will be able to view Man Utd content on their phones, including matches and interviews.

United said it recognised the growing potential of doing business in India.

The club is also looking for a new shirt sponsor after US insurer AIG said in January that it would not renew its contract when it runs out next year.

AIG had come under pressure in the US to end its shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United after the insurer required a multi-billion dollar bail-out from the US government.

'Exciting development'

Founded in 1985, Airtel reported annual revenues of £4bn last year.

Based in New Delhi, it has a 25% stake of the Indian mobile phone market. It also operates in Sri Lanka and the Seychelles.

"This partnership [with Airtel] demonstrates the enduring strength of the club internationally," said Manchester United chief executive David Gill said.

"This is a very exciting development because India is an area of commercial potential.

"We are looking at everything. Some might work, others might not."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said interest in football in India was now "accelerating fast" behind cricket.

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