Liverpool 'brand' to target Japan and rest of Asia

The new American owners of the English Premier League club Liverpool see Asia as a great expansion market. "Liverpool is the number one brand in Europe. If you go to the Far East, where Manchester United has historically been the number one brand, Chelsea has recently become quite popular," George Gillett told the Canadian newspaper National Post. "They have a global branding concept which involves playing a number of games in the Far East. In that part of the world, Liverpool is number two and growing. We have had conversations with management in the last several months and I believe you will see Liverpool playing some friendlies in Asia. I think you'll see Japan first in this coming year and then others beyond that."

Gillett also recognises the power of sponsorship, coming from the Asian continent. "There's a unique opportunity because the market is demanding it. If you look at the new sponsors in the Premiership within the past five years, more than a third of them are from Asia," he said.

The owners are also bringing their USA experience to the club's branding strategy. "We have looked at the possibility of branding in a different way, in that investments in soccer clubs in emerging parts of the world is part of our strategy. There is a strong consciousness within the Liverpool family about the worldwide aspects of the sport. When you see the number of people who watched the World Cup, it was something like 2.3 billion people," Gillette explained.

"You have the Texas Rangers in baseball, which is hugely popular in the Far East, the Dallas Stars, the Montreal Canadiens, Liverpool and our family's involvement with Nascar. You've got four unbelievably popular sports with growing international interest. If we get a hard-hitting marketing team that could provide potential sponsors with that array of opportunity, that's something I don't think has ever been put together before."