x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

La Liga kick-offs change to appeal to Asia

Spain's Primera Liga will change kick-off times and play a pre-season tournament in Asia in a bid to muscle in on the success of England's Premier League in the region.

Fans in Asia will now be able to watch Real Madrid's games at a reasonable hour.
Fans in Asia will now be able to watch Real Madrid's games at a reasonable hour.

SINGAPORE // Spain's Primera Liga will change kick-off times and play a pre-season tournament in Asia in a bid to muscle in on the success of England's Premier League in the region. Francisco Roca Perez, the chief executive of the Primera Liga, told reporters on the sidelines of the Soccerex Asian Forum in Singapore that some 17 matches would be brought forward in the 2010/11 season to increase exposure in Asia for Spanish teams.

"Our objective is to be one of the prominent leagues in this part of the world," Perez said, adding that changing game times in Spain was essential for success. "It is a sport that takes some effort to change things and especially kick-off times, which is always something very sensitive. "Teams don't like to change their ways and their traditions but I truly believe that the understanding is that this is a huge opportunity and there is no other way."

Perez earlier announced the introduction of the International LFP Cup, an annual tournament to begin next year and feature three Spanish sides and one local team in an as yet unnamed southeast Asian country. Perez said the time was right for the moves into Asia with Spanish football enjoying the acclaim from the recent World Cup success in South Africa while club administrators struggle badly with the country enduring its worst recession for 50 years.

Perez, who has been in his role with the league for five years, said he thought this drive to increase brand awareness should have been done sooner. "Our objective is not to go ahead of the Premier League ... our objective is to be one of the prominent leagues in this part of the world and I think because of the level of football we play in the Spanish league we ought to be," he said. * Reuters