Foreign Premier League Fans: What Do They Bring To The Table?

Football fans inside a club somewhere in Asia
Football fans inside a club somewhere in Asia


Football isn’t just renowned for being popular across the main parts of Europe. All sides of the world follow what is described as the beautiful game, including continents such as Asia and North & South America. Asia in particularly is becoming massively involved with not only promoting its major leagues in China, Hong Kong with the influential signings of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba on executive wage packets but people from Asia are becoming massively involved with the popularity of the game in Europe.

The amount of professional players now in Europe is also becoming apparent with the likes of Shinji Kagawa who recently earned a move to three times European Champions, Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund. Ji Sung Park was at Manchester United for many years before moving to Queens Park Rangers this season.

So is it good for the world of football that so many people outside of Europe are following the best leagues in Europe, such as the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga? It is clear to see that the Asian community is extremely wealthy, one of the many reasons why European clubs are spending their pre season tours over in Asia – purely for marketing and commercial purposes as it is extremely beneficial to the club.

Manchester United always makes sure that every summer they spend a part of their preseason campaign outside of Europe. Not only is pre season important for teams to prepare for their domestic season but it is also a massive chance to boost the clubs reputation outside of its native country. For Manchester United they will more often than not spend time in America or Asia because of the population in these areas and there are legions of fans who are ready to pay any amount to watch their favourite stars up-close.

Back in England, with the success that Manchester United has had it’s easy for them to fill their 70,000+ stadium. You can guarantee that a good percentage of the support they get every week is from outside of England. A recent survey conducted by market research group Kantar reveals that almost half of their 659 million fans were in Asia-Pacific.

It is good for Manchester United, it is good for England. It brings revenue in and with the financial crisis that England is currently in they need as much tourism as they can get. But football wise this can have a negative effect. Although United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, the atmosphere inside Old Trafford on home days isn’t known for being the fiercest. In comparison to the diehard fans inside of Real Madrid or Barcelona or for that matter in Newcastle’s st. James also has an atmosphere that can bring down the stadiums.

Not only are teams benefitting from the fans revenue, but also businesses and huge brands across Asia are pumping money into the European community in the form of sponsorship which for some clubs has a major contribution to keeping the club afloat. Unless you’re owned by a Russian tycoon: Chelsea (Roman Abrahomvic) & Anzhi Makhachkala (Suleyman Kerimov) then you’re going to rely on sponsorship to be one of your main sources of income.

Arsenal has been sponsored by Fly Emirates for many years and recently extending their contract for 5 years in a sum worth £150million. This is under the parent company of the Fly Emirates Group whose recent revenue current stands at £67.4billion. Based in United Arab of Emirates which is where every multi billion pound businessman is practically based. This has had huge implications on football teams for the better such as Manchester City and Paris St Germain of England and France respectively.

Known as foreigners before but now they are known as the owners who are prepared to splash many millions on bringing the world’s best football players to their clubs.  Every fan wants to see the best players in the world in their country but in the long run this could have significant negative effects on the economy if these owners were to soon one day decide to leave the club.

In summary, supporting two football teams can be seen either way. For the passionate and dedicated season ticket holders who want to create an atmospheric fortress for their sides home games, the amount of fans who aren’t seen as ‘true fans’, those coming from Asia for example could possibly be hampering it. But for the financial aspects of football, the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga wouldn’t be where they are now without the benefits of supporters from outside of Europe.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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