City Football Group, owner and stakeholder of four football clubs including Premier League team Manchester City, today announced the opening of its Southeast Asian operations.
City Football Singapore will handle all commercial and marketing services for CFG in the region. It will be managed under the business arm of the group, City Football Marketing.
The move comes as CFG looks to grow its presence in Southeast Asia. The company already had 10 brand partners in ASEAN, including Singha, Nexen Tire and QNET, and is eager to find more.
"We want to grow our level of commercial engagement with our partners and our fans in Southeast Asia," said Omar Berrada, CFG group commercial director.
"We want to develop customised partnerships with businesses that have headquarters or a presence in the region. Given the popularity of the Premier League in Southeast Asia and Manchester City specifically, we believe this is the ideal place to create a commercial hub."
For Manchester City alone, 80 million of its 400 million fans worldwide are from Southeast Asia, and City Football Singapore will seek to increase this and boost the presence of its other clubs: New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, and Yokohama F Marinos, in which it owns a minority stake.
Berrada (pictured) told Campaign Asia that City Football Group's strong marketing platform through football makes it a highly desirable prospect for Asian brands that are both looking to grow globally and locally in key markets.
"CFG is an innovative model and we offer really attractive opportunities for Asian brands, whether they're trying to achieve global marketing objectives and/or local or regional activations and initiatives.
"When our partners come to us, we're always trying to see how we can build on the emotional link that football provides.
Berrada said CFG currently has partners in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. But, because of football's immense popularity in the region, all markets are open to consideration.
"We are looking to continue growing; we'd like partners in Singapore but also countries like Myanmar and the Philippines that are passionate about football."
China is also a major part of the group's future plans. CFG already has one Chinese partner, Midea Air Conditioning, and Berrada told Campaign Asia they should be announcing another soon.
CFG will look to engage with fans and business partners across several platforms, including marketing, digital communications and local community initiatives, among others.