English soccer club Sunderland is partnering with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United to share coaching strategies, business expertise, and help promote each other.
The in-kind agreement links the Premier League side to a D.C. United team that has won four MLS titles, tied for the most in league history.
The news was announced on the Sunderland website with a photo of striker Jozy Altidore, also a member of the U.S. national team, holding a D.C. United scarf.
“This is a major step forward for Sunderland AFC and a really exciting development for us in the U.S. marketplace,” Gary Hutchinson, Sunderland’s commercial director, said on the website. “We are continually looking at new ways to develop our international profile and our partnership with D.C. United will help us to build closer links with this key territory.”
The agreement continues a global outreach campaign for Sunderland, which has been in England’s top league since 2007-08, never finishing higher than 10th. The team, owned by American Ellis Short, built an academy in Tanzania, and has similar partnerships with Ghanaian club Asante Kotoko and South African team Bidvest Wits.
The partnership gives D.C. United entry into the most-watched sports league in the world. The Premier League has a cumulative television audience of 4.7 billion a season, according to the release. The American club also has agreement with Italian club Inter Milan.