Arsenal Football Club and telecom operator Airtel have entered into a three-year partnership agreement, which allows the African branch of Airtel to utilize the football clubs merchandise and other provisions to facilitate its mobile offerings in five markets: Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. Airtel also has the club’s hospitality and content rights.

On mobile, Airtel will provide pre-season tour fixture, Arsenal club content and news directly to mobile subscribers, including video clips of matches and goal highlights, downloads for games, ringtones, wallpapers, and more.

From a marketing perspective, Airtel will be the official mobile operator of the 2012 Arsenal Tour to Nigeria. The telco already has a partnership with Manchester United Football Club, a five year deal inked in 2009, which allows it access to mobile content for users in India, Sri Lanka and Seychelles, and has recently launched an “Airtel Rising Stars” program, which allows 12 under-sixteen players an opportunity to train at Manchester United for a week. The Rising Stars programme will be extended to Arsenal and Africa, though that plan has a clinic for up to 50 footballers.

Nikhil adds: This partnership has more to do with marketing than content. Airtel hasn’t been able to anything substantive with its Manchester United deal for India.