Arsenal look set to go globe trotting this summer, in an effort to win new fans and increase ‘brand’ awareness.
A report in this morning’s Guardian suggests that Arsenal will play pre-season games in Seoul, Beijing and Hong Kong, before playing a match in Nigeria.
Arsene Wenger has famously been reluctant to embark on overseas trips in the past, last summer’s far eastern jaunt at odds with the sedate Austrian training camp the manager prefered to use to get his players ready.
Arsenal have been working very hard to improve the commercial side of the club and it seems as if this will be the way forward – balancing the football needs with the financial and commerical benefits of pre-season tours. And the realities of modern football mean that’s not really a bad thing.
In the short-term it is crucial that Arsenal explore as many avenues as possible to increase commercial revenue. The deals struck with Nike, for the kit, and Emirates airline, for the naming rights of the stadium, were made at a time when the club was badly in need of cash for the new home.
At the time, geting much of the money up front, was quite a coup, but with increased television revenues driving shirt sponsorships and much more, Arsenal are somewhat paying the price for them now. The first of those deals runs out in 2014, which means until then the club must find other ways to make up the shortfall.
As well as increased revenue from ticket sales, merchandise and more, the tour also provides the chance for fans who would never be able to see the team to experience what many who can get to the stadium on a regular basis sometimes take for granted.