English football giant Manchester United will open three experience centres across China, aiming at bringing the excitement of the club and its Old Trafford stadium to Chinese fans.
Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang are the chosen cities. In partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, the centres, expected to open by the end of 2020, will use interactive attractions and exhibitions to engage with the fans, allowing fans to experience the feeling of being at Old Trafford stadium, and to learn the history and heritage of the club. Each centre will also include restaurants and a club retail store.
The Beijing centre will be located within the Beijing FUN development in the historic Qianmen Dashilan area, right next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Harves on the Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centres concept, offering our millions of Chinese fans the chance to experience the club in a new and innovative way,” said Richard Arnold, managing director of Manchester United.
“This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love,” he added.
“Rooted in its (Manchester United’s) unique approach to training, its storied legacy and leadership, and its status as the most successful club in the world, we will create a fully immersive experience that entertains, educates, and inspires the next generation of football fans,” said Bo Zhang, CEO of Harves.
Manchester United has not won the Premier League title since 2013 after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement after the 2012/13 season. However, it’s still one of the most popular European football clubs in China, as it has over 107 million online followers in China, according to CNBC’s report.
The club has visited China on several occasions, most recently in 2016. However, it’s reported that the club will be unlikely to have a pre-season match in Hong Kong due to high price tag.