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Liverpool seals biggest sponsorship deal with bank

LIVERPOOL announced its most lucrative shirt sponsorship agreement early today after signing a four-year deal with Standard Chartered Bank.

The British bank's branding will appear on jerseys from July 2010, replacing Danish beer brand Carlsberg, which has sponsored the 18-time English champions since 1991.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but it is believed to be worth 80 million pounds (US$134 million).

"The sponsorship opportunity attracted a huge level of interest from a wide array of globally recognized brands," Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow said. "In Standard Chartered we believe we have the ideal partner to move forward and help develop our global ambitions for the club.

"It is a real sign of the progress we have made at Liverpool that we have been able to secure the largest ever commercial deal in our history."

The cash injection will provide a big boost to American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., who bought Liverpool in 2007 and had been surprised by the club's inability to exploit its global status by generating money through commercial deals.

Liverpool is British football's most successful club, having won the English championship 18 times and the European Cup five times. But the Carlsberg deal Hicks and Gillett inherited only brought in around seven million pounds each year.

"We are excited to be working with such a famous global brand as Liverpool Football Club for the next four years," Standard Chartered group chief executive Peter Sands said. "We see many opportunities to continue growing our business, particularly as Asia, Africa and the Middle East are emerging from the global downturn more quickly than the West.

"This sponsorship will drive a step change in brand recognition in our key markets and will provide an additional catalyst for our business growth."

Standard Chartered Bank, which is listed on both the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, had been trying to sponsor Liverpool's rival Manchester United before the Premier League champions completed a deal in June with Chicago-based insurance broker Aon Corp.


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