Wanda expands Atletico brand
DalianWanda Group Co is looking to expand the reach of Spain’s Atletico deMadrid, the soccer club brand it partially owns, in China this year.
The company, which controls the nation’s biggest property developer and largest cinema chain, is considering official stores to sell club merchandise at its Wanda Plazas, aggressive promotions on Chinese social media platforms and through soccer academies in China, said sources familiar with the development.
Dalian Wanda is planning to set up 200 official product corners in itsshoppingmalls, Miguel Angel Gil Marin, the chief executive officer of Atletico deMadrid, said during a presentation to club members on Tuesday. Dalian Wanda, however, declined to comment on the news.
Till now, Chinese soccer fans could purchase official club merchandise only through Atletico’s online store for the Asia-Pacific region. The Wanda corner shops will not only serve as a meeting point for fans but will also offer merchandise. The shops will also display screens with recorded messages in Mandarin from Spanish football stars.
“The concept of opening official stores is more of a promotion strategy forWanda than a plan to obtain profits from the Chinese market. The 200 official product corners in the shopping malls will be a good advertising strategy for the club. But the club’s official merchandise has a thin market base in China, as few Chinese fans would actually spend a lot of money on such products,” said Zhang Qing, founder of sports marketing agency Key-Solution.
In an attempt to continue attracting new supporters, Atletico de Madrid will make use of Wanda’s deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd to distribute news content from the soccer team to Chinese fans.
The club has a global fan base of 12 million through social network platforms like Facebook and Twitter. To add more supporters, the club is planning a pre-season tour to China.
Atletico de Madrid will also provide technical support and coaching expertise to three soccer schools that will be built byWanda in the country.
The schools will complement the Future Star youth program that Wanda has with the Chinese Football Association to train kids in soccer schools in Spain. Wanda will invest 20 million euros ($22.6 million) every year to support the development of 180 young Chinese players in Spain.
“Wanda Group will help accelerate our growth in Asia,” said GilMarin. Wang Wen this story.
A Wanda Plaza in Dalian, Liaoning province. About 200 shops selling merchandise of Atletico de Madrid football team will be set up in China this year.