Hull City close in on big sponsorship deal as Acun Ilicali details Murat Ülker’s Tigers interest
Exclusive: The Tigers’ owner says the club’s appeal in Turkey continues to grow
Hull City’s appeal in Turkiye has continued to grow after what Acun Ilicali believes was a hugely beneficial and successful pre-season trip to Istanbul earlier this month.
The Tigers captured the imagination after a sensational comeback stunned Super Lig holders Galatasaray when Liam Rosenior’s came from 3-0 down to win 4-3 in their first outing of the summer.
Ilicali, the club’s owner, believes City’s brand will only get stronger in his home country with a plan to expand its merchandise operation having linked up with the Turkish arm of iconic Italian sportswear brand Kappa ahead of the new season.
Corendon Airlines are entering its second season as title sponsor, while the club worked with drinks brand Efes, plus Tomya and Clinic Hub last season, and continue to be approached by other Turkish-based firms.
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It’s hoped City’s growing popularity will translate into an increase in commercial opportunities back in England, too, which is a hugely significant source of revenue for the club, and helps with navigating the tricky waters of financial fair play (FFP)
involvement of billionaire businessman Murat Ülker is significant.
Ülker owns Yildiz Holding, the largest food company across Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East with his catalogue of companies including United Biscuits – the owner of McVities – and Godiva.
“The Turkish sponsors are already involved in Hull City, but it is improving,” Ilicali tells Hull Live from his office in the heart of Istanbul. “We are about to finish one more big sponsorship deal. Merchandise sales in Turkiye are growing which is pleasing, and soon, we hope to have stores here to be able to sell club products.
“While the finances are important, my dream is for Turkish people to concentrate more and more on Hull City and the merger between two sets of beautiful people continuing to grow.
“Murat is very interested in Hull City. He came to some games last season with our jersey on and he follows us. He’s a very unique person, a very important person in Turkiye.
“He’s a very nice man and he loves his football. I see his interest in the club getting bigger is very helpful for us. Very probably he’s going to be one of the sponsors and he’ll help us build relationships with some organisations. His style is very much to go step-by-step but what I can say is that he’s involved in the club now.”