Manchester United to open 'experience centers' in China

AFP
The first centers, developed in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020.
AFP
Reuters

Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after their FA Cup third-round match against Reading at Old Trafford, Manchester, on Saturday. United won 2-0 to advance to a fourth-round meeting with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London.

Manchester United announced on Tuesday it was opening a series of "entertainment and experience centers" in China as the English Premier League club seeks to capitalize on a huge fanbase in the world's most populous country.

The first centers, developed in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang in northeastern Liaoning Province by the end of 2020.

Arsenal last year opened a club-themed sports bar and restaurant in Shanghai and French side Paris Saint-Germain also has a hub in the same city, equipped with indoor football pitches and a bar.

Each venue at the United centers will feature "interactive and immersive experiences" and will include restaurants and a club store, the EPL club said in a statement.

"We first visited China in 1975 and we're proud to have seen our fan base in the region grow and develop their passion for United over the years," United’s group managing director Richard Arnold said.

"This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love."

China has become an important preseason destination for European clubs, competing with the United States to draw top teams.

United said last year it had more than 107 million followers in China, describing the country as one of the club's most important markets.

The 20-time English champion built an enormous global fanbase during the 1990s and 2000s, a period in which it dominated the EPL.

Special Reports
Top