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Friday February 14, 2014 MYT 3:07:06 AM
Friday February 14, 2014 MYT 3:07:14 AM
by mike collett
LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur announced a major sponsorship deal with insurance company AIA Group Limited (AIA) on Thursday, which they hope will keep them among the Premier League elite as well as increase their presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
British media widely reported the deal with the Hong Kong-based company was worth 100 million pounds over five years, with AIA becoming the north London club's principal global partner from next season.
AIA have been sponsoring Spurs' shirts in cup competitions this season, and their name will replace HP (Hewlett-Packard) on the front of the club's jerseys in all competitions from next season until 2019.
The reported deal is among the most lucrative signed by any Premier League club.
Tottenham, ranked by the accountanting firm Deloitte as being among the richest 20 clubs in Europe, have not been English champions since 1961 and have competed in the Champions League only once.
But they have finished either fourth or fifth in the Premier League for the past four seasons, are historically among the most successful teams in England, and are again challenging the top positions.
They are fifth in the table with 12 matches to play.
The deal equals the 20 million pounds a year Liverpool receive from Standard Chartered bank and is just less than their arch-rivals Arsenal's 150 million pounds, seven-year deal with Emirates.
Manchester United, currently the third wealthiest club in the world by income behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, are in talks with a major kit supplier over a new deal reported to be worth around 60 million pounds a year compared with the 38 million pounds they earned from Nike in the 2012-13 season.
Spurs are due to start construction work on their new 58,000-capacity stadium on a site adjacent to their White Hart Lane ground shortly, with the club aiming to establish themselves as a regular Champions League participant as well as serious contenders for the Premier League title.
Commenting on the partnership, club chairman Daniel Levy said: "Together we share long-term ambitions across Asia, a region where the club has seen significant growth in recent years, and this extended partnership with AIA ... will further help to support our objectives and engage with our supporters across the region."
Mark Tucker, AIA group chief executive and president, said: "English Premier League football has tremendous appeal in Asia, and following the success of our cup shirt sponsorship of Spurs this season, we are now delighted to be entering this new partnership with the club.
"They have a massive fan base in Asia and we look forward to helping them further expand their presence here."
Spurs said that their coaching team will visit the Asia-Pacific region to deliver what the club describes as "elite coaching programs and associated activities" to support AIA's objectives of helping to increase participation in sport in the Asia-Pacific region.
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