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02.08.2007 13:10

Tour represents differents goals


FC Barcelona set off on their tour of Asia on Thursday to visit a region in which the club wants to project themselves further and maintain direct contact with the thousands of supporters of China and Japan.

The trip lasts ten days and will see the first team play three matches, one in Beijing, one in Yokohama and one in Hong Kong, as well as promote the slub to a region that has growing interest in the game and in Barça.

"This is a well planned," the Blaugrana's vice-president for marketing and media, Marc Ingla, said referring to the balance that has been found between the promotion of the club and sporting side. "Asia is much more selective now about which club they want to attract and for us to go back is something that only Manchester United have been able to do."

The trip to Asia represents different goals for the club. The tour gives the team a unique way to maintain contact with more than 100 million Barça fans on the continent, according to Sport Markt. The need to have direct contact has born fruit as the number of supporters in China has gone up six-fold in the last three years and seven-fold in the same period in Japan.

Also, the tour also continues to keep the club on the international stage as FC Barcelona continue to build support around the world. Nearly 77 per cent of the television audiences and approximately 50 per cent of the business merchandising is now abroad. In this sense, the tour of Asia will allow agreements to be finalised and the maintenance of international relations that the club already has with local companies for merchandising and sponsorship.

Global coverage

Not long ago, the number of fans who attended the tour matches was paramount, but times are changing. "We are trying to move it a step further now," Ingla continued. "What we really consider now to be basic is television coverage of the games for the main channels in the region. That allows us to aim for massive audiences." The matches in China this summer will be shown on CCTV5, while Japanese channel, Wowow, will also screen Barça in action. The rights to the games have also been sold to a further 70 countries across the globe.

On an economic front, the tour will see the club earn money from the participation of the team in all three games that they are scheduled to play. According to Ingla "the earning potential of Barça is an industry reference".

Socially, the tour will allow the club to continue projecting its idea that it is 'more than a club'. Aside from the games, the club intends to maintain relations at the highest level in the region. The two gala dinners that will take place are good examples as they will benefit good causes. The galas in Beijing and Hong Kong will also be screened on television throughout the region.
Tour represents differents goals

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