Teashops around Myanmar will undoubtedly enjoy some lively late nights from this August onward as the world’s most popular football team, Manchester United, on Monday announced it had signed a deal to broadcast its own private channel next season through Myanmar’s SkyNet.
With some 23 million viewers tuning into a Manchester United game within the first seven months of last season, SkyNet is confident Manchester United Television (MUTV) will be popular in football-fanatical Myanmar, a statement on the club website said on Monday.
A first-time deal has been also been struck up with Norway’s TV2, where the club also has a large fan base. The channel has also announced a two-year extension to its partnership with Icelandic TV station 365.
Manchester United commercial director Richard Arnold said: “Manchester United is fortunate enough to have 659 million followers around the globe and the creation of agreements, like the ones we have with SkyNet, TV2 and 365, allows us to bring them closer to the club they love. The new agreements mean that MUTV now has 22 international broadcast partners, covering 56 territories worldwide including parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Through our partnerships, tens of millions of people now have access to MUTV content.”
Speaking to Mizzima on Monday, local sports journalist Ye Yint said, “People in Myanmar follow Manchester United because they are globally famous, Sir Alex Ferguson and the celebrities like Beckham, Ronaldo and Rooney are all loved here.”
He added, “Our people are football crazy. They want to win every match and Man U wins many matches. Their players have a fighting spirit and this spirit is like the Myanmar’s people’s spirit. That’s why they cheer for Man U.”
MUTV’s connection in Myanmar follows the recent visit of Man United legends Andy Cole, Dennis Irwin, Lee Sharpe and Clayton Blackmore.
The players teamed up with two MNL sides’ charity match against Myanmar’s national team. The event was organised by the Ayeyarwady Foundation which donated US$30,000 to health and education causes at a charity dinner afterwards.
SkyNet have acquired the rights to broadcast the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the English Premier League for the 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 seasons.