London - India's growing importance to the English Premier League was emphasised when leading club Liverpool announced Monday their first marketing deal with an Indian company.
The Reds have signed a three-year agreement with smart mobile firm XOLO which will allow supporters in India to enjoy tailored content on their phones, buy merchandise and have the chance to meet leading Liverpool players.
Although India is best-known in sporting terms for its mass enthusiasm for cricket, the globally popular football Premier League has started to make inroads in recent years into the lucrative Indian market.
Liverpool, currently fourth in the table, have also set up an 'International Academy' in the western Indian town of Pune.
"Through this partnership we will deliver exclusive LFC content and exciting opportunities for fans to visit our home, Anfield," said Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan on Monday.
"We have millions of fans in India and we are committed to bringing the Club closer to them. Teaming up with XOLO and launching our very first International Academy in Pune represent the start of our journey in India to make fans feel like their club is right on their doorstep."
Liverpool's aim is for the academy to be a "world class purpose-built residential complex", featuring full-size pitches, practice areas, classrooms, changing rooms, a gym, canteen, lecture theatre, residential and medical facilities.
In September English champions Manchester United, Liverpool's arch-rivals, announced they had signed a three-year regional sponsorship agreement with Indian tyre film Apollo.
In another sign of football's growing popularity in India, it will host the Under-17 football World Cup in 2017.