November 2016

European Football Clubs are seeing their fortunes shift – towards Asia.

Investors from Asia are investing heavily in European football clubs.

European football is big business in Asia. China has embarked on an ambitious goal of becoming a "world football power" by 2050 and the country aims to develop a football team capable of winning the World Cup. The road to getting there is lined with no less than 20,000 football training centres and a goal of getting 50 million children to play the game by 2020.

The policy comes amid a slew of Chinese investments into European football clubs this year. Prompted by a slowdown in growth, President Xi Limping has eased financing for overseas acquisitions, fuelling a buying spree of foreign clubs. In June businessman Tony Xia's Recon Group bought Aston Villa, while a month later conglomerate Fosun International Limited acquired Wolverhampton Wanderes Football Club, and in September businessman Guochuan Lai's purchase of West Bromwich Albion went through. According to The Telegraph, Chinese conglomerates or individuals have fully or partially acquired around 20 European Football Clubs in less than two years. According to the Financial Times, Chinese investors have poured more than $2 billion into European football clubs this year alone.

In Thailand investors are also showing increasing interest in European football. Last week it was announced that the English Football League Cup will be named the Carabao Cup from the 2017/2018 season after Thai energy drink Carabao signed a three-year sponsorship deal worth £18 million. As far back as in 2004, ThaiBev secured a shirt sponsorship deal with Everton, followed shortly after by Singha Corporation becoming the official sponsor of two English Premier League clubs, Manchester United and Chelsea. In 2007 former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City, which he sold a year later, and in 2010 King Power tycoon Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City, last year's winner of the English Premier League. In early October this year, DirectAsia Group, a leading provider of insurance in Thailand and Singapore, announced its official partnership with Leicester City for the 2016/2017 season.

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is deeply involved in and commited to the growing football industry in Thailand and wider Asia. Since September 2014 The Sponsorship Experts have been a strategic partner of Europe-based Football Studio, an international football marketing agency with branches in the UK, Thailand and China. Football Studio specialises in football related services, including player and club representation, image management and PR, and sponsorship sourcing and management.

In addition, The Sponsorship Experts recently signed on Thai client TRIBUS P Sport, which recently bought Séwé Sport de San-Pédro, one of the leading African football clubs. With several championship wins and as the current holder of the Côte d'Ivoire Cup, which they won last year, Séwé Sport de San-Pédro has profiled itself as one of the Continent's best clubs.

Other Asian brands involved with European football clubs:

Chelsea began a three-year so-called training wear deal with Thai energy drink Carabao last summer, worth an reported £30 million.

Indonesia's Indostat has entered into a two-year deal with Arsenal Football Club, which sees the telecommunications giant becoming the club's official telecommunications partner in Indonesia. Indostat has signed similar deals with Barcelona and Inter Milan, the latter of which is owned by Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir.

In 2015 Japan’s Yokohama tyres signed a five-year deal to become the Official Shirt Sponsor for Chelsea Football Club. Worth a reported $40 million per season, the deal is Chelsea's largest-ever commercial deal and one of the largest shirt sponsorships ever signed.

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands - acting as a catalyst by bringing them together and maximising the relationship.

We have packaged, sold and managed sponsorship and partnership opportunities for a wide range of rights holders and worked with many of the world’s leading brands to source and engage the right sponsorships and partnerships for them to maximise.

Please contact us for more information: Tel./Fax: +66 2622 0605 – 7 Email: