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LONDON (Reuters) - English Premier League football club Manchester United have signed their first sponsorship deal in a former Soviet country, teaming up with Bakcell, a telecoms company in Azerbaijan.
The three-year agreement announced on Monday is one of a number of local sponsorship deals done by United, English champions a record 19 times, who enjoy a large following around the globe.
The club's international commercial expansion is a model that rivals are keen to emulate.
Bakcell will broadcast the club's MUTV channel in Azerbaijan, while its mobile subscribers will also be offered club news and video highlights.
"This new agreement is another first for Manchester United, with it being the only partnership the club has in the country," its commercial director Richard Arnold said.
United have 659 million followers around the globe, according to the results of a survey commissioned by the club earlier this year.
Around 1.68 million of them were in Azerbaijan, a country of more than 9 million people which is wedged between Russia and Iran on the Caspian Sea.
Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Mark Potter