With a history spanning 125 years, Arsenal Football Club of the Premiere League, was one of the oldest brands represented at the GMIC 2012, but its development director, Rupert E. Daniels, touted a fresh message: Asia, particularly China, is the focus of Arsenal’s development strategy, which will rely largely on social media and mobile internet technology to attract fans, Daniels said.
Premiere League games are the most-watched sporting events on earth, with a cumulative audience of 4.7 billion. Arsenal alone is watched by 100 million people every week, for about 40 weeks of the year, Daniels said. Targeting the massive Chinese demographic has become a fascination.
Highlighting the importance of Asia, Arsenal launched a well-received Asia tour in 2011 with stops in Malaysia and China. In July 2012, the club will return to play a game against Premier League foe Chelsea in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Meanwhile, Arsenal is ramping up its online presence in China.
In a bid to funnel Arsenal search engine hits towards a single platform, it partnered with Tencent QQ to create a China-specific Arsenal website connected via numerous online portals, and launched a banner-making contest during the last Chinese New Year that awarded winners a trip to watch an Arsenal game at their home stadium.
Currently, there are more than 200,000 Chinese netizens connected to Arsenal on QQ.