May 15, 2018 / 4:55 PM / 3 months ago

Barcelona reveals plans for theme parks in U.S. and Asia

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique once likened the club to Disneyland and on Tuesday the La Liga champions announced plans to open their own amusement parks in Asia and the United States in a bid to further boost their global brand.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - May 6, 2018 Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi and team mates celebrate in front of the fans after the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez

The five parks, which will be between 3,000 and 10,000 square meters, will be built by Spanish leisure park group Parques Reunidos in shopping malls and “iconic establishments” in major cities, with the first parks being opened in 2020.

“The club is viewing this as a strategic agreement that will project the Barca brand and awareness of the club around the world,” Barcelona said in a statement.

“These spaces will be dedicated exclusively to FC Barcelona, where visitors of different ages will be able to enjoy immersive experiences in this brand new entertainment concept, based on the history, values, players and memorable moments of the club, blending interaction, new technologies, education and fun.”

The move is the latest step in Barca’s global expansion, which has seen the club already open offices in Hong Kong and New York and discuss plans to launch offices in China and South America.

The club also has an extensive set of football schools in the United States and Canada and will hold their pre-season tour in the U.S. for a second year running, playing friendlies against Tottenham Hotspur, AS Roma and AC Milan.

Last year, Barca’s all-time top scorer and talisman Lionel Messi announced plans to open a theme park in Nanjing, China in 2020.

“The agreement with Parques Reunidos will help us to project our image in strategic territories like the United States and Asian countries, offering our supporters a 100 percent Barca experience, and at the same generating a major source of income,” said Barca’s head of marketing Manel Arroyo.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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