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Stateside Visit A Success For Black Cats

Tue 27th Jan 2015 | Marketing & PR

Representatives from Barclays Premier League club, Sunderland AFC, travelled across the pond last week, as the club develops its commercial operations in the states.

SAFC touched down in New York to kick start its ‘four states’ visit ahead of a busy schedule of activities in the US. The club’s commercial director, Gary Hutchinson, met with American media giants, NBC, in New York to discuss the future of the partnership.

Interest in the Barclays Premier League in the USA is at an all-time high, with major broadcasting service NBC securing the rights to show all 380 top flight games live across its network.

Gary said: “The Barclays Premier League is becoming increasingly popular in the US and we are welcoming more American fans to the Stadium of Light, week on week.”

To celebrate its partnership with MLS club D.C. United, Sunderland AFC also visited Washington DC, where the delegation from the club met with DCU officials for a visit to their new stadium site.

Speaking about the visit, the commercial director said: “The plans for DC’s new stadium are impressive. The vision shown by D.C. United to improve the matchday experience for its supporters, whilst generating commercial revenue in its District is admirable.”

As part of the partnership, Sunderland will share its knowledge of utilising the club’s own venue, the Stadium of Light, outside of football. This includes hosting music concerts, with One Direction, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen just some of the artists who have performed at the venue in recent years.

Sunderland AFC legend, Kevin Ball also travelled with the delegation and delivered community coaching projects in the national capital, alongside club partners D.C. United and DC Scores.

The Black Cats legend participated in a number of interactive drill sessions focussed on improving the participants’ ball skills, along with team building exercises to improve confidence amongst the youngsters.

Kevin said: “At Sunderland AFC, we are highly committed to using our abilities to work and engage with communities in not only the UK but also abroad. Football is a global language and through the power of football, we can influence and educate people of all ages.”

To mark the partnership between the Black Cats and DCU, both clubs held an exclusive evening at the British Embassy in Washington for over 150 top level guests, from various business sectors.

The event was the first official presentation of the two clubs together and offered guests the opportunity to find out more about the football partnership.

Speaking at the event, Gary Hutchinson said: “Through the club’s reach as part of the Barclays Premier League, we are able to help promote D.C. United in over 200 countries, to a cumulative audience of 4.2 billion. In turn D.C. United are helping to increase Sunderland’s presence across the vast American continent.”

The two cities of Sunderland and Washington DC already hold a city friendship agreement and the partnership between the clubs in helping to strengthen the warm relationship that exists.

Tom Hunt, Chief Operating Office of D.C. United said: “The special connections that already excist between the District of Columbia and Sunderland help to make this partnership unique.

“As we continue to build our relationship, we are finding that there are many opportunities and shared ambitions for D.C. United and Sunderland AFC that will benefit both clubs on and off the field.”

Following the event, guests were informed that there was much to look forward to in the coming months following positive talks by both clubs, with D.C. United officials expected to visit Sunderland in the near future.

American fans are being welcomed into the family of Sunderland supporters in increasing numbers and with the club’s activities on the ground and its partnership on the continent, those supporters can see the impact SAFC is having on many people’s lives.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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