Manchester City is expanding its online reach to Japan

English football Club Manchester City has signed a deal with Japanese developer MJL to create a local mobile website in a bid to increase its fanbase internationally.
Written by Hana Stewart-Smith, Contributor

English football team Manchester City has struck a deal with MJL, a Tokyo developing firm, in hopes of building a local mobile website in Japan.

The deal is part of a plan to expand the clubs brand awareness in Japan and build a fan base there.

MJL will have the rights to develop an official site for the club on Japan's iMode-based mobile web until 2013, which will be accessible by most smart phones and devices in the country.

The site will feature Manchester City news in Japanese, pictures and downloads as well as access to merchandise, memorabilia and match-day tickets for visitors.

Although it might seem like a strange move for the British team, Manchester City's chief brand and commercial officer Ian Cafferky was very positive about the deal.

"This deal marks another chapter in the club's digital strategy to engage with our international fan base, bringing supporters as close as possible to the match-day experience, through greater interaction online and on mobile," he said.

He also added that they were, "extremely excited to be entering into the Asia market with partners MLJ," explaining that they "already help some of the biggest names in world football reach out to a host of new fans from [...] Japan."

Manchester City ranked 12th in Deloitte's International Football Money League on Thursday.

This puts them a few ranks behind rivals Manchester United, who came in third place. The top teams on the list were Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Manchester City has been making a name for itself in digital marketing over the last few years. It was the first English Club to sign a content deal with YouTube and created its own official channel.

The club also displays international tweets on the big screens of their stadium during games, saluting their social media audience as they watch.

Considering how often Japanese football enthusiasts tell me that Manchester City is their favourite team, setting their sights on Japan might be a smart marketing plan.


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