Melco Resorts & Entertainment has announced a new partnership with Premier League champions Manchester City. The deal will make Melco the club’s Official Partner in Japan.
The agreement will also cover Manchester City’s Japan-based sister club, Yokohama F. Marinos. The deal will lead to the creation of new programs and events in an attempt to help the club cultivate and grow a fanbase in Asia, particularly the burgeoning Japanese market. Melco will also become the primary kit sponsor of Yokohama, starting in the upcoming season.
Damian Willoughby, the senior vice president of partnerships with City Football Group, issued a statement that said,
“Melco and Manchester City share a common approach to have entertainment at the heart of everything we do, providing great experiences for our fans and visitors. We are also both committed to using football as a force for good and are excited for the launch of Melco’s new community football program in Japan.”
The partnership was officially announced at a special event in Yokohama. Manchester City legend Paul Dickov and members of the Yokohama F. Marinos first team were among those in attendance.
Lawrence Ho, the CEO and Chairman of Melco, said,
“Building successful teams and successful partnerships have a lot in common. At Melco, we look for shared ambition and 21st century values. And in Manchester City and Marinos we have found perfect partners — businesses that excel at entertaining, whilst putting community first.”
“Melco’s connections to Japan run deep, so being able to support grassroots community programs across the country is an exciting opportunity for us all.”
City’s ownership group has reportedly been looking to expand the club’s influence in the Asian market for years, and this new partnership will afford them the opportunity to do just that. The club has signed a number of other partnerships, and the team has played several preseason games in the region. Just last month, City participated in four preseason matches in China, Hong Kong, and Japan. The English club even faced their aforementioned sister club in Yokohama, a game won 3-1 by the Premier League champions.
Melco isn’t done making deals either. The company is believed to be among the frontrunners in a bidding race for one of the three new casino licenses that are expected to be handed out by the Japanese government as the country looks to expand gambling legalization and regulation. Melco has said in the past that it has plans for the artificial island of Yumeshima (near Osaka) as a potential location for a new resort if it acquires one of the available licenses.
Melco has also been looking to establish its brand in Japan, and the deal with City and Yokohama F. Marinos is another indication of how serious the company is regarding its expansion into Asia.
Earlier in 2019, Melco revealed renderings for its proposed resort in the Osaka region, which has been temporarily titled “City of the Future.” Ho said, at the time, that he thinks the bidding process for the casino licenses is still on track for sometime early next year.
The CEO said that Melco’s portfolio of established resorts in Macau and the Philippines helps show the company’s “devotion to craftsmanship, dedication to world class entertainment offerings, market-leading social safeguards system, established track record of successful partnerships, culture of exceptional guest service, and commitment to employee development.” Based on Melco’s good track record, Ho believes his company has an excellent chance at landing one of the new casino licenses.
Ryoji Kurosawa, the president of Yokohama Marinos, said,
“It is a great pleasure to establish a new top-partnership between Melco Resorts & Entertainment Japan, City Football Group, and Yokohama F. Marinos. We appreciate this opportunity from the bottom of our hearts. Melco Resorts & Entertainment provides the best leisure and entertainment in the world, and I believe that one of our club philosophies, to create joy and excitement, shares the same value with Melco’s business.”
Melco was one of the title sponsors of the EuroJapan Cup of 2019.
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