Villarreal gets social with Renren deal
13 Apr 2012
La Liga club Villarreal has strengthened its ties with China by agreeing a three-game shirt sponsorship deal with social networking website Renren.
The agreement commenced with the club’s 2-1 win against Malaga on Thursday evening and follows on from Renren initially placing its logo on Villarreal’s shirts for the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid on March 21. Renren’s logo will also feature on Villarreal’s shirts for Sunday’s game against Racing Santander and the April 22 trip to Real Sociedad.
The deal was signed during a visit to China by Villarreal vice-president Jose Manuel Llaneza, in which he sought to further the club’s relationship with the country. Villarreal is currently engaged in a five-year kit deal with Chinese firm Xtep, while it has previously worn the logo of another Chinese social networking site, Sina Weibo. Villarreal has already made two trips to China, and newspaper China Daily reports that the club is set to return for a pre-season tour this summer.
Villarreal’s new agreement with Renren comes after La Liga rival Atletico de Madrid wore the logo of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei during its derby clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday. After finishing fourth in La Liga in 2010-11, Villarreal has endured a difficult campaign this season. The club exited Europe at the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and has sat near the bottom of the league all season. It currently lies 17th, one place and seven points above the relegation zone.