Saturday, February 10, 2007

Arsenal marketing deal with MLS' Colorada Rapids

Arsenal have become the latest English Premier League club to begin exploiting the American market for football with a partnership with Stan Kroenke's Major Soccer League club Colorado Rapids. The Denver-based franchise is expected to include a name change to include 'Arsenal' and perhaps even adopting Arsenal's historic maroon strip as its new team colours. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger warned, however, that he would resist any attempt to take his players on publicity-seeking summer tours of the USA. He described the partnership as a "technical co-operation" which would allow Arsenal to have their pick of players and also give the chance to, in his words, "extend our brand".

Wenger said he had been given assurances by the Arsenal board that this was not the prelude to another American takeover in the Premiership and joked that "there are enough Americans in the league now". However, the Arsenal manager was adamant that Arsenal's newly discovered interest in self-promotion would not extend to the kind of pre-season tour of America that Manchester United and Chelsea have undertaken in recent years. "I don't like the pre-season tours, but I must say the club has become so popular that we have a lot of proposals now to do it," he told Sam Wallace of The Independent. "I hope I can resist as long as I want because it is a lot of money that is offered."

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