Aston Villa FC targets USA, Asia for market growth

English Premier League club Aston Villa, recently taken over by USA sports entrepreneur Randy Lerner, expects to be a European Champions League regular inside five years, the club's new CEO Richard FitzGerald, 44, told John Curtis of PA Sport. A former senior vice-president at leading sports marketing and media agency IMG, FitzGerald said his brief from the board was to fill the stadium week in and week out and create an infrastructure to support a top club. He said once the club had reconnected to the Birmingham business community, it would spread its commercial net far and wide.

"Although the global growth of our fan base is not presently the club's most urgent priority, it is nevertheless of strategic importance to the long term. We will potentially look to the United States as we deem it a fast growing soccer market. Our US connections make it more achievable. There are also a lot of opportunities around Asia, particularly for the bigger clubs. The Premier League is incredibly popular. But international expansion at this moment will require strong partners that we do not currently have for it to work effectively - and a winning team," he said.

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