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According to the most recent estimates, some 2.7 billion people around the world regularly tune in to watch English Premier League football. As the biggest individual market by some considerable margin, 38% of those viewers are based in Asia, which means the competition is keen to continue increasing its reach throughout the region.

European rights deal could be emulated in Asia

As the English Premier League seeks to further strengthen its position globally, an exclusive media rights deal was penned with Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) in July 2021. The Scandinavian company will expand its existing long-term partnership to reach additional countries, including the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Alongside traditional TV subscriptions, NENT will also broadcast all 380 matches each season via their own Viaplay streaming service. “The Premier League is without doubt the crown jewel amongst sports properties,” NENT President and CEO Anders Jensen enthused, in comments highlighted by Insider Sport.

NENT already held the Premier League broadcast rights for Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Those rights will now be expanded to the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As part of a package that now encompasses nine countries in total, the Premier League will undoubtedly be looking to secure similar agreements elsewhere around the world.

In the Asia-Pacific territory, the Premier League previously had a broadcast partnership with MP & Silva, an international sports marketing and media rights firm. However, the deal was beset with problems when the company failed to make rights payments on time. Subsequently, the Premier League turned to individual agreements with broadcasters in specific Asian countries.

Nevertheless, there is a clear preference for the Premier League to establish another blanket deal. Instead of negotiating individually with some 28 different broadcasters at present, the English competition hopes to pursue a clearer long-term strategy, which will eventually meet the demands of its biggest overseas market in terms of viewers.

Asian fans eager to back their favourite teams

In January 2019, the Premier League opened its first international office in Singapore. Although this was partly aimed at combating piracy of media content, the key intention was also to bring the competition even closer to its millions of eager fans throughout Asia. Many of the leading clubs have also established official fan clubs in different countries, over the last two decades.

Whilst many fans tend to choose their favourite Premier League teams, then support them through thick and thin, others might follow sides based on how successful they are or those featuring their favourite players. For example, Tottenham Hotspur are currently the most popular English team in South Korea, due to Heung-min Son being one of their star players.

Elsewhere, Manchester United is traditionally the most popular club in China, where the Red Devils boast a massive following and has numerous official supporters’ clubs established. They were also the most popular club in Japan when Shinji Kagawa was in the team, although Liverpool overtook their biggest rivals recently when Takumi Minamino joined the Merseyside club.

Along with watching every game they can, Asian fans are also embracing the growing culture of wagering on matches, which often brings an added sense of investment in results and further entertainment. That said, amongst the rapidly growing number of online bookmakers available to bettors, choosing where to wager can often prove challenging and frustrating.

As one of the most trusted online gambling guides since 2013, asiabet.org has become a valued resource for football fans who enjoy betting on games. Their aim is to provide Asian gamblers with all the knowledge they need, as they search for safe and reliable betting sites. Given the Premier League is arguably the most popular betting market, the overall objective is to provide users with more informed choices, plus a wealth of guides, tips and strategies.

Top of the leagues

Although there is increased competition for the Asian audience from other European leagues, such as LaLiga in Spain or the Bundesliga in Germany, nothing has managed to topple the massive appeal and popularity of the Premier League. For now, English football remains top of the league amongst viewers in Asia.

Ongoing efforts to improve broadcasting rights and further outreach will only strengthen that position, accompanied by ongoing efforts by clubs to maintain close ties with fans in different countries. This means that for the foreseeable future, the Premier League will continue to enjoy further growth amongst Asian football fans.

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