The Spanish Football League (LFP) has signalled its intention to tap into the Middle Eastern market by announcing that it will establish its first regional office in Dubai.
The office, to be located in Dubai Airport Freezone, will be the LFP’s first base outside Spain and is intended to attract further commercial investment from the region and act as the main point of contact for the Middle East. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid’s main sponsors are both Gulf-based companies, Qatar Airways and Emirates respectively, while Qatari Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani owns fellow Primera Division club Malaga. “Dubai Airport Freezone was our first choice for its prime location and attractive investment opportunities,” said LFP president Javier Tebas, according to GulfBusiness.com. “The Freezone provides world class services and facilities that cater to our needs as we act as an intermediary between prospective sponsors and Spanish teams, closer to the Spanish soccer fans in the region.”
The unveiling of the office plans was one of a number of announcements made by the LFP during a visit to Dubai. Tebas said the League is working on introducing friendlier kick-off times for the Middle East’s Spanish football fans, telling the Gulf News: “La Liga is working on the best feasible kick-off timings in order to reach as many fans as possible in this region. It’s a challenge but within the next month we will have more news.” Fernando Sanz, general director of the new Dubai office, said that of the 400 million people who tune into watch the ‘El Clasico’ match between Real and Barcelona, 87 million are from the MENA region, and of the 350 million population, 126 million will watch a Primera Division match at some point during the season.
Meanwhile, the LFP will support Dubai’s bid for the 2020 World Expo by launching a range of activations during this weekend’s round of Primera Division games. Dubai’s bid will receive exposure at all top flight stadiums, while Sevilla will wear the ‘Expo Dubai 2020’ on the front of its shirt during its game at Real Sociedad and Barcelona star Andres Iniesta will promote the bid through his Twitter account.