Saturday, June 27, 2009


Thai-ing up the marketing

Thai Port aren't the biggest name in Thai football. Far from it. But from what I saw the other day they are a model clubs certainly in Singapore and Indonesia should look at.

Before the game we went to the club shop. As I type this I realise that this is the first club shop I have been t in my time covering football in the region. Persija's Jakmania have a club office that has a few bits and pieces that are on sale but nothing substantial. Thai Port's shop was bigger than anything Arsenal had in the 1980s!

I've discussed many atime with Persija people the benefits an official club shop can bring but they just look at me like I'm from a different planet. If only they'd been with me in Bangkok. Not only was there a steady stream of customers, they weren't all window shopping.

They were snapping up replica shirts, scarves, t shirts, polo shirts, t shirts etc etc. the tills were doing a roaring trade and who was benefiting? Why the club dummy!

Inside the stadium nearly everyone, from both sets of supporters, were wearing club colours. Unlike for example Singapore there was hardly a Liverpool or Manchester United shirt to be seen in a sea of blue and orange.

My Chonburi friends gave me some numbers. At a recent home game they estimated 250,000 baht had been taken in gate receipts. That approximates to 7500 USD based on absurdly low ticket prices of 1.50 USD. The next figure they gave blew me away. A further 225,000 baht was taken through merchandising sales from that attendance of about 5,000.

That works out at 45 baht or just 1.33 USD per person and brought the club another 6800 USD. That's 14,000 USD at one home game. Multiply that by 15 home games and you're looking at a revenue of about 210,000 USD. Through the gate.

No disrespect to Chonburi but compared to Indonesia's biggest clubs they are small fry. Consider Persija with 30,000 Jakmania members. Persib with perhaps 50,000 and likewise Arema with a similar number.

Admission to Indonesian games is more expensive than in Thailand. Persija tickets, when they were allowed to play at home, ranged from 2.50 – 10 USD. Taking say 4.00 USD as an average price let's multiply that by 22,000, a reasonable home attendance and you're looking at 88,000 USD through the gate alone.

Now if Persija had their own official club shop. And if each of those 22,000 fans spent on average, like their Chonburi counterparts, 1.50 USD then you're looking at another 33,000 USD filling the club offers every home game. Multiply by 17 home games and you're looking at something like 2,000,000 USD.

Persija's budget for this last season was something along the lines of 2.5 million USD, all of which they had to get from local government. There were a couple of small sponsorships but not a lot.
Potentially, and potential is a word often linked with the game in Indonesia, Persija could take in 80% of their seasonal budget through the gate on match days. Throw in catering and of course having official souvenir outlets strategically placed throughout Jakarta and you're sitting on a cash cow.

So what do we have now? A few guys sitting on mats selling t shirts and scarves outside the stadium and the club benefiting to the extent of 0 USD. No cash flow and salaries seemingly permanently in arrears. Last season no fan wore official replica shirts 'cos the kit manufacturer had none available. Persija Jakarta, potentially one of the biggest clubs in the region, are being blown out of the water by a marketing savvy Thai Port.

Note – the figures given in this article are unofficial and based upon informed comments and reasoned inferences.

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