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Wolves aim to challenge norms in overseas fan expansion

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Wolves intend to be ‘disruptors’ as they look to crack the lucrative Chinese market and expand their ever-increasing fanbase.

Wolves' stock is growing overseas

Since Fosun bought the club in 2016 there has been a concerted effort to attract more supporters in China.

The team’s success last season has put Wolves in a position to ‘convert neutral fans’, managing director Laurie Dalrymple told the Express & Star.

And he said of Wolves’ strategy: “We want to be disruptors, we want to be the challengers to the norm.

“The key point – and this extends to the broader values we now stand for as a club – there should be no barrier to our innovation.

“There should be nothing that stands in the way. We’ve shown that in how we play and how we recruit, which has caused numerous teams significant problems. We want to be living and breathing in that type of behaviour off the field as well.

“The mandate for the (off-field) team is to fear nothing and to be progressive and bright.”

That strategy includes a big push on eSports and in retail, with a Wolves megastore set to open in Shanghai this summer.

Wolves will also take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy next month, facing Newcastle and then either Manchester City or West Ham.

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“China as a market is vast,” Dalrymple added. “Getting into the Premier League was going to be the primary accelerator.

“We are still quite far behind the Premier League powerhouses – but because of our ownership and because we’ve performed so well, we feel we’re in a position where we can hopefully start to convert neutral fans.

“We see eSports as a huge opportunity for us to develop the Wolves brand and fanbase.

“We want to grow our fanbase as fast and wide as we can.

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“China remains fundamentally important to us which is why we made such a big effort to get on the tour to Shanghai in the summer.”

While Wolves are looking to expand their Chinese fanbase, that's not been a problem in Mexico.

The goalscoring exploits of Wolves striker Raul Jimenez have helped rocket the club's popularity, with Dalrymple calling the growth 'extremely rapid'.

"It's going extremely well, probably slightly unexpectedly," Dalrymple said.

"Two years ago we identified our market areas of growth in parts of Europe and China, which is a key market.

"The Americas were seen as important. Because of the reflection of our first-team group and things like sSports it means our Latin America growth has been extremely rapid.

"We've got arguably as many, if not more, fans in Mexico at the moment as we do domestically.

"Our Facebook following in Mexico exceeds our Facebook following in the UK."

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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