I recently published an article about FC Barcelona going on summer tour in the USA next summer. Guardiola’s team will be playing against Manchester United, AC Milan and Club America (see below schedule). A compelling way to explore new markets and tap into global fan base. For winter tours, Bundesliga clubs have chosen a more “exotic” destination: The Middle East.
Manchester United will face Barcelona in a pre-season friendly scheduled for July, 2011 in Washington DC. The Red Devils have been in discussions to play a friendly in Chicago at Wrigley Field as well as a potential friendly against the Portland Timbers in their refurbished stadium.
In addition to Barcelona facing Manchester United, the schedule is as below:
- August 3: Barcelona v AC Milan (Miami)
- August 6: Club America v Barcelona (Dallas)
According to Deutsche Welle, the Bundesliga clubs have chosen the Middle East for winter tours. With Bayern going to Qatar, Hamburg to Dubai, Bundesliga clubs set a new trend. Weather conditions are triggering this destination, but also the strong football marketing potential the Middle East is offering.
Hamburg, who are off to Dubai from January 2 – 7, are sponsored by the Emirates airline.
“It’s always a question of sponsoring and invitations,” says Strasser. “They’ve been invited to the Aspire academy, which of course wants to be able to say that Bayern were there too.”
Bayern also used to go to Dubai, but this season they have defected to Qatar, nominally for conditional reasons – it is one hour less flight time and one hour less time difference.
The Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha, an elite, state-of-the-art sports school with a fearsome, vaguely Masonic winged logo, has made a business plan out of using top European football clubs to promote itself. They shot a commercial featuring Barcelona star Leo Messi a few months back, and Bayern, along with Barcelona and Inter Milan, took part in November’s Aspire4Sport conference in the Aspire Dome in Doha.
One of Aspire4Sport’s “Platinum” sponsors, incidentally, is the Qatar Foundation – owned by the Qatar Sports Investment company, the filthy rich consortium that recently persuaded Barcelona to wear their green tree logo on their shirts next season in a deal worth 165 million euros ($217 million).
The more you trace the sponsorship deals and partnerships that tie the football world together, the more you realize that Qatar’s successful World Cup bid was merely the crowning achievement of a long-term plan to use vast piles of cash to build a football culture in the Middle East. [Source: Deutsche Welle,]
We knew that summer tours were of great importance for global football clubs. Bundesliga clubs benefit form their 4 week winter break to generate additional revenue streams by touring in the Middle East in winter and reach out to their fans. Should EPL clubs ask for a winter break?