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Zenit Burger King? Russian soccer team offered $7.7 million to change its name.

Igor Denisov of Zenit St. Petersburg celebrates the opening goal of the 2008 UEFA Cup Final against Glasgow Rangers. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Burger King made a Russian soccer team a whopper of a proposal this week when it reportedly offered up 500 million rubles (roughly $7.7 million) in exchange for team naming rights. The American fast food chain asked Zenit St. Petersburg to become Zenit Burger King, according to multiple Russian reports that cited an alleged letter sent to the club.

“We ask you to please consider the possibility of changing the name of the soccer club,” the letter, part of which was posted to Russia’s FlashNord news agency, stated. “In return, we are ready to pay out a one-time payment of 500 million rubles to work with the club long-term.”

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Burger King, which set up its first St. Petersburg location six years ago, said it hoped to raise its profile and “strengthen communication with Petersburgers” with its offer.

The offer certainly raised the fast-food chain’s profile locally, but perhaps not in the way Burger King intended. After news of the offer broke on Friday, soccer fans online did the obvious — they made fun of it. One intrepid Twitter user even created a logo.

The Russian Premier League club has so far chosen not to make any formal response to Burger King public, opting instead to post a reply on Twitter.

This is not the first time Burger King’s Russian executives have attempted to drum up attention by doing something wacky that got leaked to the press. Last month, the director of Burger King’s Russian operations challenged his McDonald’s counterpart to a Pokemon Go duel, according to Russia’s 360 TV.

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“It’s a pleasure to compete with you for business, but I think it’s time to figure out which one of us [is] better outside the restaurants,” Burger King’s Dmitry Medoviy said in his letter to McDonald’s chief Khamzat Khasbulatov. “I suggest the loser spend a day behind the counter of his restaurant, serving guests while dressed as a woman.”

It does not appear that Hazbulatov accepted Medoviy’s offer, either.

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