Atleti turns its focus to the East

The club signs a partnership with Al Ain and look to exploit more markets

Miguel Ángel Gil Marín signs a strategic partnership with Al Ain

Atlético try to increase their income by expanding to new markets. Like Real Madrid and Barcelona before us, Atlético want to become an international brand with fans from all over the world.

This week Miguel Ángel Gil Marín signed a “strategic partnership” with Al Ain from the UAE. Atleti hope to appeal to the Arab market and Enrique Cerezo said “we’re proud to link up with the best professional football team in the United Arab Emirates.”

Our partnership with Al Ain is the third strategic alliance the club has agreed, after our deals with Shangai Shensua from China and Muangthong United from Thailand.

We wouldn’t rule out more long trips to play friendlies like we did this pre-season, when we beat a team of Thai All Stars.

And Atlético isn’t quite done yet, with Japan next on the agenda. The club hopes to find a partner in Tokyo, which would for now conclude our activities in the Far East.

AS reports Gil Marín will travel to Mexico to sign a partnership with América at the end of this month. We have a large following in Mexico since Javier Aguirre joined us and from when we visited the country during pre-season in 2008.

Another market Atlético is keen on, is that of the United States and especially California. With 38 million inhabitants, of which 35% are hispanic, there is large potential. Atlético hope to associate with LA Galaxy, San José Earthquakes or Chivas USA.

Kick-off at noon?

According to AS, Atlético have informed the LFP of their plans to play all home games at 12.00 in the second round of la Liga.

By kicking off at lunch time our games will be broadcasted at a more convenient hour in Asia.

AtléticoFans is unsure if the club has considered the fans living in North and South America though, who would have to wake up in the middle of the night to watch our games.

The club doesn’t expect many complaints from its Spanish fanbase, because the initiative isn’t entirely new.

During Atlético’s two years in hell – the Segunda División, games were also played early in the afternoon. On two occassions the Vicente Calderón was even sold out and especially the fanclubs of our rivals appreciated the kick-off time, considering the time they had to travel.

We have visitors from all over the world on this website. What’s your stance on Atlético’s plans?

  • k14

    I live in Canada,
    but how earlier the games would be ?

  • Derek Maaijen

    The earliest games now are at 6PM on Saturdays and 5PM on Sundays. If we’d play at noon that would mean Americans have to get up before 6AM, and that’s just the east coast!

  • Mert

    wouldn’t north america be just as profitable as a market as asia is? asia has more ppl, but much of the population isn’t nearly as attractive a consumer as the markets in north america would be

  • Nick Poskitt

    But there’s a whole lot more sports in North America that soccer competes with already. Bigger teams than us have struggled to get a foothold in the North American markets.

    Asia is an easier market to penetrate at the moment.

  • k14

    Actually the new time suits me better ;p
    I always stay up around 3am on the weekends.
    And ye, the champions league barely get attention over here, so dont think atletico will have any success.
    Never saw any other atletico fan over here, and I my self dont count as I come from saudi ;p

    Unless FIFA agrees for the commercial breaks (hope they never do), sadly this sport wont be as popular as the rest.

  • Derek Maaijen

    The result of AS’ poll is quite interesting. After more than 10.000 votes the score is almost fifty/fifty. 51% votes in favour of playing at 12PM while 49% is against. Follow the results here.

  • Ringo Schut

    For me it won’t matter that much, but I’m not everyone.

    It’s probably really hard to decide what’s really the most tactical decision…

  • Mert

    i just today realized how annoying this will be 🙁