Sunday, July 12, 2015


Hull's Asian Ambitions Need More Than Name Change

So for the second time Hull City's bid to conquer Asia has failed after the FA refused to sanction their name change. Club owner Assem Allam has been hoping calling the club Hull Tigers would enable it to cash in on the Asian markets but it seems the FA don't like the idea and anyway where is the evidence?

Assem has been quoted as saying 'Hull City' is is common. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. 'City' is a lousy identity. 'Hull City Association Football Club' is so long...I have always used short names in business. It gives you power in the science in marketing. The shorter, the more powerful the message. In Tigers, we have a really strong brand.'

There is no doubt Assem has done a wonderful job with Hull City in a city he has lived for several decades but he does seem to have a blind spot regarding the name of the football club.

His son has talked about improving the brand for the international market but will that happen?

The Chinese revere the tiger but will a football club called Hull Tigers see an increase in flights to East Yorkshire? It is highly unlikely. Paris St Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United have not become 'brands' with a tiger.

Then there is South East Asia. Harimau (Tigers) Malaya is a development project carried out by the Football Association and has teams playing in the Malaysian and Singapore leagues. Are the fans turning up in big numbers to see their games? Are there plane loads of chartered flights from Shanghai and Beijing converging on Melaka or Singapore to catch their home games?

Indonesia has two team major sides with tiger connections. Persija are known as Macan (Tiger) Kemayoran while Persik are nicknamed Macan Putih (White Tigers). Is anyone even aware of this fact outside of Indonesia?

While Assem's desire to widen Hull City's fan base is laudable I fear just changing a name will do little. What is needed is an injection of cash that would see Hull City become the biggest club in the country. And we are talking the kind of cash that can attract players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Team those three together. Add the likes of Wayne Rooney and Thomas Muller, win a few trophies and then you may find a few people in Asia wearing Hull City shirts. But they will be following the club because of the big name players and the success, not because they are nicknamed Tigers.

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