By Barry Janoff
April 23, 2014: In what has become a trend in the North Americanization of its marketing, Liverpool FC has signed a multi-year deal with Subway, making it an official partner of the iconic soccer club.
This is Subway's first alliance with a club in the Barclays English Premier League. Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.
In addition to Subway, headquartered in Milford, Conn., Liverpool since September has signed marketing deals with Gatorade, a division of Purchase, NY-based Pepsico; and EA Sports, based out of Vancouver.
The majority owner of Liverpool FC is Fenway Sports Group, headquartered in Boston, which also owns the MLB Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park.
Among Liverpool's minority owners is NBA star LeBron James, who in 2011 came on board via a deal between his own sports marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing, and FSG.
"We're proud to announce that we're The Official Training Restaurant of @LFC," Subway posted on its Twitter page. "The best subs for England’s leading soccer team/football club!"
The alliance gives Subway access to Liverpool's global fan base and also supports its growth in the U.K. Among Subway's 41,675 stores worldwide are more than 1,750 in the U.K., including 31 in Liverpool, according to the brand.
Subway recently unveiled a plan to add 3,000 Subway stores in the U.K. and Ireland over the next six years.
Liverpool FC is valued in excess of $650 million, making it the 10th most valuable soccer club in the world, according to Forbes.
Subway will support the pact with multi-media marketing and activations. Subway "Famous Fan" endorsers include Michael Phelps, Pelé, Apolo Ohno, Nastia Liukin, Torah Bright and others who have played on an international stage.
To help launch the relationship, Subway said it has been "sending its range of low-fat subs to participants on Liverpool FC Foundation programs all week. The low-fat range encourages youngsters on the club's charitable-arm courses to 'Train Hard and Eat Fresh' as part of the brand's efforts to support healthier and active lifestyles."
"As a brand, we are committed to supporting everyone to be more active in their everyday lives and our partnership with Liverpool FC provides us with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate this and take it to the next level," Manaaz Akhtar, regional marketing director for the Subway brand in Europe, said in a statement. "Whether playing at the top of the Premier League or just having a kick about in the park, the Subway brand can offer a wide range of nutritious options to help you deliver your best performance."
Liverpool has made several trips to the U.S. as part of its globalization strategy. The next trip is planed for this summer when Yankee Stadium will host a Guinness International Champions Cup match on July 30 between EPL rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
"We're delighted to welcome the Subway brand as an official partner to Liverpool FC," Billy Hogan, LFC's chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "We've worked closely with the Subway team over the last few weeks and have seen first-hand value they place on giving back to local communities. We are excited to be joining forces with a global organization who are just as passionate about making a positive difference to their communities as we are."
Other Liverpool marketing partners include jersey-front sponsor Standard Chartered, Carlsberg, Maxxis, Stanley and MNBA Bank.
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