Arsenal FC: New partnership signed as Gunners launch ambitious plans to break China
Arsenal FC, the English soccer club, has signed an ambitious agreement with Helios Partners to provide marketing expertise and consulting services as the club looks to increase its presence and fanbase in China as part of its efforts to increase global revenues.
The club's commercial arm faces the challenge that, unlike rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, club manager Arsene Wenger is unwilling to let his side play on lucrative pre-season tours. Though Wenger believes his settled pre-season routine brings the club an increased Premier League points haul each season, there is no question that it impacts on Arsenal's global ambitions off the field, since it prevents the club visiting potentially lucrative destinations such as China.
The likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have visited China in recent years, while Birmingham City plan to use the fact that they are now owned by Chinese businessman Carson Yeung to make the Blues the club of choice in the country. Helios will undertake local partner management, the development of a commercial marketing strategy and a broad range of other activities for Arsenal within China.
"We are very pleased to have one of the world’s leading agencies working on our behalf in China," said Tom Fox, Arsenal's chief commercial officer. "Helios provides the on-the-ground capabilities and depth of experience within China that we need to build the support and passion for Arsenal Football Club."
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Helios will also oversee the development of grassroots initiatives throughout the country, including a youth programme that will serve as an extension of the Arsenal Soccer School.
Chris Renner, president of Helios China, added: "Arsenal understands the importance of a long-term commitment to China, and this is exactly how it is done. We are thrilled to be a part of this effort to bring one of the world’s most recognisable sports brands to the world’s most populous country."