MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United have signed a sponsorship deal with online financial trading company Swissquote, expanding the commercial partnerships that have helped to make the English club one of the richest teams in world football.
United did not give a value for the deal, the club's first in the sector, but said on Monday it was a multi-year agreement.
The Premier League club, 20 times English champions, claim to have 659 million followers around the globe, making the United name attractive to major brands like Chevrolet cars and sportswear group Adidas.
Swissquote said the global deal would allow it to use United's popularity in Asia to help it meet its targets for expansion in China.
Among benefits from the deal, Swissquote's clients will have a chance to meet United players and get behind the scenes at the Old Trafford stadium.
Swissquote is a Geneva-based online trading company that allows retail investors to buy and sell foreign exchange, equities, bonds and other asset classes.
Like other retail FX brokers, Swissquote was left nursing losses on the Swiss franc after Switzerland's central bank stunned markets this month by abandoning its cap on the currency.
The fallout from the abrupt move put rival and West Ham United shirt sponsor Alpari UK into administration. Swissquote itself was forced to book a 25 million Swiss francs (18.61 million pounds) provision for its clients who were left out of pocket following the franc's surge.
United's ability to grow revenues off the pitch has made them the second richest club in the world behind Spain's Real Madrid, despite a downturn in their playing fortunes.
United Managing Director Richard Arnold said there was still lots of scope for United to develop sponsorships in other areas of business.
"The last quoted statistics that we had showed that of the top 25 sponsorship categories, we were only active in 15 of those," Arnold told Reuters.
"I think there is a huge potential still for the club, and the other thing we have seen is there is very significant growth even within categories."
United have endured a tricky transition following the retirement of manager Alex Ferguson in 2013, finishing seventh in the Premier League last season and missing out on a place in the lucrative Champions League.
(Writing by Neil Maidment, additional reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by Keith Weir)