Club football is now truly globalised. Clubs are no more small community based which are known in that locality, they are now huge organisations owned by the richest businessmen’s of the world. The transfer spend of each club is increasing at a mind boggling pace.
Every year clubs are breaking their transfer record fees. The increase in this expenditure has led to clubs being debt laden, with some of the biggest clubs in the world having debts which in normal business prudence would be suicidal. Thus the need for new revenue streams.
Thus English premier league clubs set out all over the world to find out new revenue streams, and thus they found and fell in love with Asia. Asia is unique because though they themselves fare poorly in FIFA rankings and have rarely ruled the football world, their passion for football is second to none. In fact there are more followers and fans of English premier league football clubs in Asia than in England. The high growth rate in Asian countries has also resulted in people desiring for more. Thus in certain parts of South East Asia, weekends means EPL and Beer. But Why EPL?? Why not Serie A, Bundesliga or the la liga??
The reasons are many. While now La liga biggies Real Madrid and Barcelona have equal presence in Asian market, but still as a whole there is more EPL presence. First is Tv rights and Tv timing. The match timings in Asian countries are rarely real late nights or early mornings. The match timings are convenient. Though mostly it is the English premier league clubs and Football association’s ability to get into the Asian market early. Now every year during the season break in England there is a tournament called the premier league Asia trophy. In 2013 it was won by the runners up of EPL, Manchester City.
The ever increasing value of TV rights deals for the EPL in Asia, an area with vast growth potential given the region’s enormous and upwardly mobile population. On their trips to Asia, clubs charge appearance fees to play friendly games, and benefit from sales of official merchandise. And they trade on their popularity by signing sponsorship deals involving everything from banks and credit cards to beer, telecoms, airlines, and even tomato juice.
The growth prospect is immense and they have just started. The threat though lies with the other big European leagues who are slowly starting to focus more and more on Asia. Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ac Milan etc are now increasing their presence in Asia in a bullish manner. Even these countries themselves are getting better in football and have their own club system.
Other sports like baseball and basketball also pose a serious threat. Though all said and done Asian love affair of English clubs is still on the growth stage and the potential is immense. As the premier league chief executive Richard Scudamore himself told, “Our global fan base is just short of a billion, and half of those are here in Asia, so it (Asia) is a hugely important part of what we do,”