Chelsea FC has announced plans to take a pre-season tour to Thailand for some friendlies in the summer of 2011.
Although the Blues last went to Asia 2 years ago to play matches in China and Malaysia, this will be their first time back to Thailand in 14 years.
Chief executive Ron Gourlay noted that the club was making the announcement so far in advance in order to maximize their interaction with the “increasing fan base in Thailand as [they] build towards the game [and] are looking forward to bringing the club closer to the fans with a year of activities including [their] world-renowned community coaching scheme.”
The tour will end with Chelsea facing off against a Thailand All-Stars side there at the 60,000-capacity Rajamangala National Stadium.
So why the return to Thailand after all this time? Money!
Way back on August 5th, the club announced a new partnership with Singha beer as Chelsea’s official beer supplier, meaning that it is the only libation available at Stamford Bridge. Guess where Singha beer is based? Thailand!
Santi Bhirom Bhakdi, the chief executive of Boonrawd Brewery noted “It is a glorious leap forward for Singha Corporation to join hand in hand with Chelsea Football Club, a club that thirsts for victory and accomplishment.” Oh, I see what you did there!
The partnership is mutually beneficial, as currently 95% of sales for Singha come in the restrictive domestic market, where the government has strict regulations on alcohol advertising. In working with Chelsea, the brewery expands into the international market to move past those restrictions while allowing the football club to expand its presence in Asia.
Club executives are excited about their return to Thailand in order to boost Chelsea’s finances. I’m pretty sure that John Terry and Ashley Cole are excited about the trip as well.