International sports companies are seeking to gain a foothold in Iran’s untapped economy following the removal of sanctions, a report said.
Sports marketing experts believe Iran’s rich sporting culture is now primed for international companies looking to make their mark on the country’s nearly 80 million people, eturbonews website reported.
“It (Iran) has suddenly become a very attractive country for all sorts of companies and those companies will be looking at how do they position themselves and get their brand known,” Alun James, managing director of Four Consulting in the UK, said.
He added, “Obviously a good way of doing that, to raise awareness very quickly and to buy affinity and alignment with consumers, is to look at sponsorship.”
Additionally, Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise at the UK’s University of Salford, said, “There is clearly some potential for this to happen”.
Chadwick estimates Iran’s sports industry could be worth as much as $500 million (Dh1.84 billion) over the medium-term and up to $1 billion over the longer-term when including sponsorship deals, ticket and merchandise sales and event management.
“This is obviously dependent upon the speed in which Iran opens up to the world,” he said.
Iran boasts some of Asia’s biggest football teams both in terms of success and fan base. Its national team has been to four World Cups and won three Asia Cups. The Tehran derby between clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis is arguably the biggest in Asia, regularly attracting crowds of 100,000 and an average domestic television audience of 20 million.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)