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DC United announce technical and commercial partnership with EPL's Sunderland AFC

DC fans at RFK

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D.C. United on Friday announced a partnership with Sunderland AFC of the Barclays Premier League, an agreement that will result in shared expertise, benefit and promotion for each club.
 
Through the global reach of the Barclays Premier League, Sunderland AFC will help to promote the D.C. United brand in over 200 countries. With an accumulative audience of 4.7 billion, the Barclays Premier League is the most watched sporting league in the world, providing a platform for D.C. United to engage with a worldwide audience. D.C. United in turn will work closely with Sunderland AFC to help increase its presence across North America. The two clubs will also work together on joint initiatives in both the United Kingdom and the U.S.
 
“We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with Sunderland AFC and its global fanbase,” D.C. United chief operating officer Tom Hunt said in a statement. “Through this partnership we look to share best practices on both the technical and commercial side, while also helping Sunderland increase its brand recognition in the nation’s capital and throughout the US.”
 
“Interest in football is growing massively in the USA, and our partnership with D.C. United will provide both clubs with an excellent opportunity to grow and evolve in each other’s market,” Sunderland AFC commercial director Gary Hutchinson added. “This is a major step forward for Sunderland AFC and a really exciting development for us in the US marketplace. 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.”
 
Sunderland AFC is in the midst of preparation for the 2014-15 Barclays Premier League season. The Black Cats have spent seven consecutive seasons at the top level of English soccer since winning the 2006-07 Championship title. In 2013, Sunderland signed US men’s national team striker Jozy Altidore.
 
D.C. United is the most successful professional soccer organization in the history of the United States. United is a four-time MLS Cup Champion (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004) and the winner of the 1996, 2008 and 2013 US Open Cup, the 1998 CONCACAF Champions' Cup, the 1998 InterAmerican Cup and the 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007 MLS Supporters’ Shields.
 
Sunderland and Washington, D.C., already hold a friendship agreement, and the partnership between the two football clubs is seen as another step forward in strengthening the warm relationship between the two cities.