Liverpool pre-season plans with Bayern Munich clash and Premier League opponents confirmed
Liverpool will head back to Southeast Asia this summer as part of the club’s pre-season preparations, with the commercial motivation behind the move clear.
While many of European football’s biggest clubs are making their way stateside and attempting to put their flag in the ground in the US market in a bid to tap into the boom in ‘soccer’ that has been seen across the Atlantic, the Reds will head to Singapore to take on Bayern Munich for the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy, as well as facing Leicester City as part of the Singapore Festival of Football.
The Trophy, for which Liverpool’s front-of-shirt sponsor Standard Chartered hold the title sponsorship, will see the Reds play the Foxes at the National Stadium on Sunday, July 30, before a game at the same venue, where they faced Crystal Palace last summer, three days later, when Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern side will be the opponents.
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Pre-season tours have become increasingly valuable sources of revenue for elite clubs, and with the coronavirus pandemic having put paid to the summer of 2020 and 2021, Liverpool will have missed out on the £10m-plus that comes with taking part in summer tours.
The Reds made their overseas tour trip since COVID-19 last summer, believed to have delivered between £10m and £12m in revenues for the club, while they have shunned the chance to visit America this year, although with the World Cup heading down the tracks in the US for 2026, and with the lucrative opportunities that will present themselves with such an engaged market where Liverpool already have a hold, it is highly likely that the Reds will head stateside in the next couple of years for their summer tour.
Two summers without pre-season tours and the revenue that comes with them was impactful for every club, especially for clubs such as Liverpool who have commercial obligations to partners as part of their valuable deals.
Standard Chartered inked their renewal with the club last summer during the tour of Asia, with the deal understood to be worth more than £50m per season to the Reds.
When the decision making process was being undertaken around last year’s pre-season tour the club hadn’t finalised their agreement with Standard Chartered and therefore couldn’t maximise the commercial opportunities that came with it. That is partly why Liverpool are heading out to Singapore, with Southeast Asia an area of real focus for the likes of Standard Chartered.
Liverpool largely align themselves with major blue chip brands when it comes to their activations, and the kind of brands that spend the big money with the club want to have more than simply association with the club, the activations have to be impactful. For Liverpool, having two years away from a key market meant that the commercial department had a lot of work to do to ensure they delivered value for partners last year. Another visit this year means that they are able to continue to satisfy some of their major sponsors, as well as Jurgen Klopp’s desire for a trip to Asia at the end of pre-season as opposed to the start.
The trip also involves less time travelling to different cities and stadiums, meaning that the Reds can have a settled base in Singapore for the duration of their trip.
Ben Latty, Liverpool’s commercial director said in a club statement: “Pre-season is hugely important to us for a number of reasons, it’s a chance for fans who may never get the opportunity to come to Anfield to see their idols, and for the team to prepare for the season ahead. In Singapore, almost a fifth of the population identify as Liverpool FC fans, which is amazing, and we can’t wait to meet them again.
“Singapore is an easily accessible travel hub for LFC fans across the region to reach. It is also strategically important for a number of our partners, including our principal partner Standard Chartered Bank, who we were delighted to renew our relationship with for a further four years when we visited Singapore last year.”
Asia is also a market where the club has a significant presence, and one that is set to continue to grow in the coming years as they expand their retail operations both physically and online in the region.
“One of the things that is very easy to forget is the global appeal of the club,” said Mike Cox, senior vice-president of merchandising at Liverpool when speaking to the ECHO last month.
“Typically, we ship to 192 countries, so while we have a very strong local retail business with the stores in the city centre and the fans that come in and around a matchday, the support that we have got worldwide definitely helps. With that we’ve been able to organise a number of events, particularly as the markets have opened up with our international, be they in Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore, and we get a lot of strong support from the LFC Legends that travel out to markets to support some of these events that, ultimately, support retail or the partnership business that we have got.
“Our engagement with fans in the international market has been really strong. I think that we’re fairly unique in that where the club has its own social media, we have specific retail social media platforms that we have built to over two million followers across Instagram and Facebook, so that definitely helps.
“We are building out that international programme of standalone stores, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. We have currently got ten standalone stores, five of which are in Thailand, and we have plans to grow those out over the next 12 to 18 months. We have also got over 200 shop-in-shops in those territories as well, so it gives the club a very strong presence, visibility and a connection point for fans that might otherwise not have had the opportunity to get to Anfield.
“On the strength of all of that we have recently renewed with some of our partners; Malaysia, Singapore. We have got a couple of others that are likely to be announced in the next couple of weeks (the club have since announced a partnership with All Star Partners (ASP) to improve the club’s foothold in the Chinese market, with ASP a leading sports and e-commerce retail company in China that focuses on sports licensing, merchandising and retail for top global sports clubs and organisations).
“The club has been able to build really strong relationships with its partners, so what we are doing on the retail side is pretty reflective of those relationships that have been built with the likes of Standard Chartered and Carlsberg. We are looking at long-term development rather than short term.”