The deal will give MLJ, a Tokyo-based website developments, the rights to develop the club’s official site for Japan’s i-Mode mobile Web, which is supported by the majority of devices in the country.
Details on the site will mirror City’s official website, with visitors able to read club news in Japanese and access a range of club data, merchandising and memorabilia. There will also be an option to by tickets for those who are contemplating a 5,000 mile trip to the City of Manchester Stadium.
Ian Cafferky, chief brand & commercial officer for Manchester City, was buoyant about the deal and its potential to bring the club closer to its fans in Japan:
This deal marks another chapter in the club’s digital strategy to engage with our international fan base, bringing supporters as close as possible to the match-day experience, through greater interaction online and on mobile.
The club is emerging as a digital pioneer with some of its recent moves in the space. City became the first English club to agree a content agreement with YouTube, where it became one of the earliest professional channels, and it tested the waters further still by broadcasting a selection of fans’ tweets on the giant screen in its stadium.
Last month, City announced plans to appoint TV and online exec Russell Stopford as its head of digital media, as PaidContent reported. He replaced former Trinity Mirror and Tiscali director Richard Ayers who stepped down as planned after a year in the position on an interim basis.
As revealed on his blog, Ayers will stay on at the club “in a roving role looking at digital business development, new products and innovation” as City continues to push the boundaries on digital media.
The club’s on-field activities are stronger than ever after being taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008. The new investment has heralded an era of big spending on transfers and wages as the club has recruited some of the world’s most talented players, and its challenge for the Premiership title is regarded as particularly strong this season.