Edwin van der Sar, Antonio Valencia and Patrice Evra were at Old Trafford on Thursday for the announcement of United's three-and-a-half year partnership with South African telecommunications provider MTN.
The deal will see MTN become the South African extension of the club with exclusive mobile content and online inventory such as match highlights, player profiles, ringtones available to customers for download through the MTN Play entertainment portal.
Additionally, MTN has the rights to produce co-branded premiums and will receive signed memorabilia to use in competitions to reward its customers. It will also offer exclusive United-branded MTN products such as airtime vouchers and will run competitions for its customer base where some lucky fans will get an opportunity to have one-on-one interactions with players in the local and international football arena.
United Chief Executive David Gill said: "The partnership with MTN is a very important step in the club's plan to get closer to its fans based all over the world. MTN's strength, particularly in the pre-paid market will provide us with the perfect platform to achieve that."
Zunaid Bulbulia, Chief Finance Officer for MTN, said: "We think this is the perfect partnership as it will give United the opportunity to reach millions of fans in Africa, and for us it’s the perfect vehicle to extend our investment in football beyond the World Cup.
"It also enables us to combine the activities of the Manchester United Foundation and the MTN South Africa Foundation to reach out to impoverished communities who would otherwise not get the opportunity to meet and be coached by international footballers.
"We’re very excited about this aspect. In South Africa, we have a word for trying to capture that excitement. We call it 'Ayoba', which means ‘sweet.’"
Richard Arnold, Director of Commercial, Manchester United said, “South Africa is the centre of the footballing world in 2010. Manchester United has 10.3 million fans in the country and enjoyed two recent visits there in 2006 and 2008.