The report from the Japan tour: As Roma's brand is aiming east

The store set up in Tokyo was a success. There are now deepened relations with Toyota promoting an expanded sponsorship. And a new commercial director arrives

Ryan Friedkin, Tiago Pinto and Pietro Berardi with a delegation of Nagoya Grampus

Ryan Friedkin, Tiago Pinto and Pietro Berardi with a delegation of Nagoya Grampus

03 Dicembre 2022 - 08:36

Two draws on the field. A success pulled off. Which, after all, was what Roma wanted from this tour in Japan. A tour that ended yesterday with the homecoming of the large Giallorossi group. A tour specifically intended to export the brand to the land of the samurai, to fuel commercial business relations in that East which for Italian teams still remains a market that is almost completely unexplored (English clubs have been haunting it for years). The goal was achieved in the week spent between Tokyo and the city of Toyota. This was what was wanted by the owners and top executives of the Giallorossi club, who were present in the second part of the week with Ryan Friedkin and CEO Dr. Pietro Berardi. The commercial effects of this tour will probably be discovered in the coming months. For instance, almost certainly the reception Roma received in warmth and numbers forecasts this. 

The "Casa Roma" set up in Tokyo and visited by thousands of potential new fans was a success (remember Pallotta's theory that he hoped Roma could become the second team with millions of fans scattered around the world?). Along with this, just as successful was the Giallorossi's temporary store in downtown Tokyo, which, at the very least, guaranteed significant revenue from the sale of merchandising. The Japanese interest in Italian soccer in general and Roma, in particular, was touched upon. The players participated in a series of events with the local fans and did so with great participation, thanks in part to the extraordinary politeness of the people in Qatar who are astounding the world by cleaning the stadiums at the end of matches involving Japan. If something had to be sown, it was certainly done. Roma took the first step that has founded an important response and will now have to be nurtured.

Roma will do it. And in this sense there has been the formalization of a partnership with Nagoya Grampus (the team faced in the first friendly), a soccer partnership hoping, sooner or later, that a new Nakata will mature in those parts. And the possibility of an almond-eyed player arriving in Trigoria in the near future, perhaps as early as next summer, is definitely to be taken into consideration. Mourinho himself has mentioned the name of the attacking midfielder, Kamada from Eintracht Frankfurt, who is due to expire next June 30th. 

But in addition to the soccer aspect that also has its importance, the tour in Japan was important in nurturing old and new business relationships. In particular, the one with Toyota, which has become a partner of Roma by sponsoring the training jerseys of all the Giallorossi teams since last August. The partnership was signed, for now, for three seasons at a cost to the Japanese automotive brand (the world's best-selling) of about 1.8 million euros net per season (plus there are bonuses related to the goals the team achieves). In Japan there have been initial contacts to expand the partnership with the Japanese brand, which, as we know, has more than consolidated relationships in the United States with the Friedkin family. In the future, work is being done so that Toyota can become a potential main sponsor (from 2024) or, even better, the brand that can brand the Giallorossi stadium in Pietralata (when and if it happens).

All of this will be worked on primarily by Roma's new commercial director arriving at Tolstoy Avenue. This is Michael Wandell, with work experience in the Brooklin Nets Nba franchise, in the Nba itself, and in the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise which prominent in baseball. His arrival has not been made official yet, but it is only a matter of days. He will have the role of Chief Commercial and Brand Officer, stuff that for us mere mortals means Commercial Director. He will take the place of Ryan Norris, who left Roma a few weeks ago. All that remains is to wish him good luck in his new position.  And sayonara.