Sunderland have announced a commercial partnership with MLS club DC United as they look to increase their presence in the growing US market.
The link-up doesn't outwardly appear to include any obligations regarding player exchanges, and DC United already have connections with Inter Milan in that regard (The Inter president Erick Thohir is the majority owner of the MLS club), but the idea seems to be to get Sunderland's name out there a little more.
Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director at Sunderland AFC said:
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.
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.
So there we go. Not a hugely fascinating story unless you're a bit of a commerce fetishist, but noteworthy nonetheless. In truth, Sunderland haven't really made enough of the Jozy Altidore association to develop their 'brand' in America, so it's nice to see them doing all the can to try and maximise their appeal. Whether any actual tangible benefits are felt from this partnership, I suppose only time will tell.