It’s no secret now that it’s highly profitable for European football clubs to expand into the growing Asian market, and Lazio have joined the fray.
Two summers ago, Juventus called for earlier kick-off times to allow more Asian fans to watch the games live. The Bianconeri have also toured around the continent during a recent pre-season tour, with many fans attending simply to watch their favourite players, showing the growing commercial potential in the region.
Last year, Lazio finally decided to make efforts to appeal to their Asian fanbase. The Biancocelesti reached an agreement with HQ BET to become their official Asian Betting Partner, and also joined Weibo and WeChat in order to find new fans and develop their commercial image.
Large crowds gathered to watch Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana matches in 2009 in Beijing and 2015 in Shanghai, and so the Roman club are now looking to take advantage of the potential in Asia. Another option to increase their presence would be to partner with news providers such as telecomasia.net.
Lazio fans have many opinions on club president Claudio Lotito, but one thing that cannot be argued against is that the Italian is an incredibly smart and shrewd businessman. He has managed to lower the club’s debt by over €100 million since taking over and is always looking for ways to expand the brand.
Lotito wants Lazio to become one of the biggest teams in Italy, but first he must find a way to close the gap economically between the Biancocelesti and teams like Juventus, Inter and AC Milan, all of whom have already made significant efforts to appeal to the Asian market.
Whilst Serie A has lost a significant amount of viewership when compared to the last 20 years in Europe, the Italian topflight is still keenly popular in Asia, with many supporters’ groups present in China, Japan, Indonesia and more.
So, what could Lazio do to further expand in Asia?
Well, to start the Biancocelesti could look for a new main shirt sponsor in the continent, following in the footsteps of Inter, who are set to replace Pirelli with an Asian company at the end of this season as their main shirt sponsors.
The position is currently vacant on Lazio’s shirts, meaning that the club are missing out on a significant amount of revenue. The Nerazzurri, for example, are looking to secure around €25-30 million from their new deal.
The Biancocelesti could also expand their presence on social media. The Roman club are one of the few top teams in Italy to not have Twitter accounts in other languages, for example, which is shocking considering that even teams like Sampdoria and Torino have made efforts to create separate pages for each language.