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Man City plots to wow Asia

Man City's Glick says club's tours on the continent will be a unique experience

CITIZENS: Fans here will have a chance to catch the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho (left) and Nolito in action as Man City have plans to visit Singapore in the near future.

Since arriving a week ago, Manchester City's commercial head Tom Glick has been making the point at every opportunity that Asia is of huge significance to the English Premier League giants.

For proof, Glick, City Football Group's (CFG) chief commercial officer, pointed to the club's Singapore office, which was opened last October to direct their commercial operations in South-east Asia.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, he revealed City's mission in Asia: "To give fans more than what they are getting now."

He brought up the name of the club's arch-rivals, when he said: "Manchester United have lots and lots of fans, and I don't know if it is for City to try and have more than them.

"For us, it is about continuing to play winning football and win trophies, and this is going very well.

"We also want to engage fans in Asia and around the world.

"If we do these two things, growth will happen."

“Manchester United have lots and lots of fans, and I don’t know if it is for city to try and have more than them. For us, it is about continuing to play winning football and win trophies, and this is going very well.” - Man City’s commercial head Tom Glick PHOTO: REUTERS

Glick was a keynote speaker at the Sports Matters Conference yesterday at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands.

It is a well-known fact that Asia is a huge revenue source for the EPL and its clubs.

Television-rights fees for live games, especially in Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong, are already the highest in the world.

English football's huge following in this part of the world is historical and a 2011 survey by United revealed that half of the club's 659 million followers are in this continent.

While City are regarded as the richest club in the world because of their Abu Dhabi owners, they have some way to go to catch United in terms of revenue generation.

In June, Forbes ranked United as the most profitable football club in the world.

Three days ago, the club's board announced record revenue of £515.3m ($928.5m) for 2016 and the operating profit of £68.9m was also a new high.

Liverpool and Arsenal have also been visiting Asia regularly to engage and win fans and they have the next two largest followings on the continent.

Hicks said City have established a sound base to build on and are planning to strengthen their presence with tours to Singapore and other parts of the region.

The work in Asia began late last year when CFG, owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, sold a 13 per cent stake in the club worth £265m to Chinese consortium, China Media Capital and Citic Capital.

"Asia is a hotbed for football and you cannot overstate the significance of South-east Asia with so many fans as a percentage of the population," said Glick.


"We recognise this and it is for this reason we are here to engage fans, add value and generate more excitement around the EPL and Manchester City.

"We also have 15 (commercial) partners based in Asia that have global aspirations. And we have toured Australia, China and Vietnam and plan to come to Singapore in the near future."

He is aware of the growing feeling among fans here that their support is taken for granted, when they have to pay a premium to watch their favourite teams play exhibition matches.

But Hicks insisted: "Our touring matches are an important way to entertain and engage our fans in Asia because in between seasons is the only time they get to see us play.

"We want to do it in a quality way and with good crowds.

"What Manchester City have done, and will continue to do, is to have open training sessions and fan festival events.

"Throughout the year, we also plan to have good outreach to each country in a localised way so that they can see and feel like they are part of what is happening in the United Kingdom, that we are speaking to them directly.

"This is what we are working on at the moment."

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