LONDON: Championship club Leeds United on Friday (Saturday in Manila) announced a link-up with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
Leeds’ owners are keen to learn some of the 49ers’ marketing and business techniques, while representatives of the 49ers will travel to England to discuss aspects of the second-tier club’s business.
Leeds managing director David Haigh told the club’s official website: “This is a strategic partnership and we’re looking forward to working closely with the 49ers.
“They are a worldwide brand, and we’ll be discussing all aspects of our business; marketing, ticketing, merchandising, and commercial opportunities, and hopefully tapping into and sharing knowledge with them.”
The 49ers, who are moving from their current Candlestick Park home to a new purpose-built stadium in Santa Clara from next season, are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, winning five Super Bowl titles thanks to the play of legendary stars like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
After a barren period at the start of the 21st century, they have enjoyed a recent revival and reached the Super Bowl for the sixth time last year, losing to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
Leeds were one of England’s most successful teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s, winning the league title twice and the FA Cup once.
But the Yorkshire club have struggled to recapture those glory days after crashing out of the Premier League in 2004.
Paraag Marathe, chief operating officer of the 49ers, believes they can still learn plenty from Leeds and he said: “The 49ers are very excited about the prospect of partnering with Leeds United, a club with an international following as well as great history and tradition.
“We look forward to sharing best practices with Leeds United and providing them with our perspective on the sports industry.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to link up with an English football club and learn from each other.”