City look to reach out to overseas fans on summer tour

Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho (L) celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal with Manchester City’s German midfielder Leroy Sane (2L), Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (2R) and Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder David Silva during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on May 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS

Manchester City are one of five English Premier League clubs travelling to compete in the International Champions Cup as part of their pre-season preparations.

Here, AFP Sports talks to Tom Glick, Chief Commercial Officer at City Football Group, which runs Manchester City, about the merits of overseas pre-season tours.

Q – What is the specific appeal of countries like China and the United States to Manchester City?

Tom Glick – “The US, which we’re visiting this year, and China, which we toured last summer, are two of the biggest and fastest growing football markets in the world. They are home to millions of Manchester City fans and we have particular links to both, with our sister club, New York City FC, in the US and our minority investors, China Media Capital, in China. We always welcome the opportunity to connect directly with our fans in both countries -– as well as a number of other parts of the world which are close to our heart.”

Q – How do trips to these countries help City leverage its brand?

Tom Glick – “Giving the millions of City fans around the world who can’t make a trip to the Etihad, the ability to watch their team in person is the ideal way for them to get closer to their club. It also enables us to introduce City and our players to new audiences who might be watching and discovering us for the first time, which helps us to cast our net as far as possible. We have a number of global and regional commercial partners who operate all over the world and welcome the chance to activate our partnership in particular territories, which tours help us to do.”

Q – From a marketing perspective, how do you measure the success of these trips?

Tom Glick – “The important thing for us is to make sure we are building lasting relationships with the cities and countries we visit on tour and contribute something to the football community there. This might be through community programmes, commercial partnerships or having a permanent presence or sister club in market, but it’s the best way of ensuring we have an ongoing and successful relationship with the destinations we select for tours.”

Q – What are the non-business benefits?

Tom Glick – “There are few better ways to enhance awareness and exposure of our club in particular markets than having our players on the ground, training, playing and meeting fans. In the annual football cycle, we don’t get many opportunities to do this, which is why we invest so much time and effort to ensuring that we choose the right places to go and maximise our time there so that we can spend as much meaningful time with our fans as possible.”

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