Football clubs around the world continue to place an importance on their image in the ever-growing Asian market.
La Liga club Real Betis has substantially grown their appeal and international fanbase in recent times, with plans to continue pursuing commercial opportunities outside of Spain.
Asia is integral to these plans, with Betis beginning to take advantage of their participation in one of the world’s most watched and well-supported leagues.
Before the start of last season the club signed a partnership agreement with RB88, a leading online betting company in the region, for the next three seasons.
The Seville based club does have a significant, well established international department and continues to reach new audiences in football-mad Asia.
One of their latest moves, just months ago, was to expand their digital offering in China by opening a new profile on the Weibo social network.
It is a play to expand the club’s fanbase in China, curating content that is suitable and engaging to Chinese football fans.
“From Real Betis we always work to tailor our entry strategies for each country according to the interests of local people,” Ramón Alarcón, general business director of the club, told the La Liga website.
The club has a key focus on China, considering the development and extensive work they have already conducted in the country.
“In China we have focused on cooperating in local education and progress of football players,” Alarcón noted. “We have held talks on our methodology and made agreements that are very beneficial for both parties.”
These agreements include partnering with La Liga and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on various occasions over the past few years.
Last year, the club opened a new training school in the Chinese province of Zheijang as a part of the ‘EscuelaBetis’ programme which aims to educate through football as well as expanding the Betis brand.
Commenting at the time of the announcement of the project, Toni Ortega, director of the club’s international development, told the La Liga website: “The EscuelaBetis programme will bring together all the sports projects of the club under a single brand that transmits our values.
“We are always looking to create education, training and development of young players around the world and we hope that this brand will allow us to export the work done at home to all parts of the world.
“We have been working for more than a year to identify the best opportunities in China. Within this project, we saw a need to run both boy’s and girl’s training as one of the keys to growth.”
China, however, is not the only country in Asia that Betis has pinpointed for future growth opportunities.
In Japan, Real Betis joined La Liga’s #TodayWePlay initiative last season, which brings Japanese fans closer to the club through engaging online education classes.
Created in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute in Tokyo, different topics are discussed and presented by Betis to Japanese audiences, including the club’s history, organisation, fanbase and ties to Japan.
Other clubs such as RCD Mallorca, SD Eibar, Deprtivo Alaves, Villarreal CF, Elche CF, SD Huesca, Cádiz CF and Real Zaragoza are involved in the program.
The club’s seminar was presented by Alarcón last month, also detailing information on Spanish culture, architecture and gastronomy from cities represented in the La Liga competition.
Alongside this, late last year the club initiated a Behind the Scenes trip, through the EscuelaBetis program, for a group of Japanese students.
The students stayed in Seville for a week, visiting the club’s facilities in the process and learning about how the club’s institutions are run, the working methodology and also gaining insight from world class professionals about their varying experiences.
Betis sees the potential there and is making a conscious effort to understand the local Japanese platforms and audiences.
The club has an official profile on Twitter in Japanese which currently has just over 8,000 followers, a number which will certainly grow in the years to come.
In regards to our local teams, what can A-League clubs do to better build their brand in Asia? Get in touch with us via email or our social channels.