September 13 – Real Madrid have partnered with Lai Sun Group to create a presence at a Chinese theme park in a cultural development in Hengqin, China.
Called Novotown, the theme park will bring together sports, entertainment, and advanced technology, including virtual and augmented reality applications for football.
The location is close to Hengqin Port, near Macau, and is directly accessible from Macau via the Lotus Bridge.
The Real Madrid element of the theme park will include a museum, a club shop and a restaurant.
Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director of Institutional Relations, said: “With this alliance we will be present in a large leisure and entertainment centre in China. Real Madrid will be the benchmark in the world of football thanks to this exciting project known as Novotown, where you can live the greatest interactive experiences in football thanks to the latest technologies.”
Messi has his own theme park
Real Madrid aren’t the only Spanish-based football brand set to enter the Chinese theme park business. In the summer Lionel Messi was in Beijing launching a football theme park that will bear his name in Naijing, China.
The Messi Experience Park is a collaboration between Chinese broadcaster Phoenix Group and Spanish media company Mediapro, and is scheduled to open in 2019.
The park will feature more than 20 attractions in a 150,000 sq ft indoor facility. Outdoors there will be 40,000 sq ft of playing fields and 82,000 sq ft of public space.
Barca on a Mission
Barcelona has also moved into China with a physical presence, but based on its training methodologies rather than club legend.
The club is taking its academy blueprint to China and is backing the build of a facility at the world’s biggest golf resort, Mission Hills, on China’s Hainan Island, near Hong Kong.
The new football complex will become a training centre for China’s national team and top clubs as well as housing up to 1,000 junior footballers – hot-housing youth development in a bid to breed a new generation of Chinese “national heroes”.
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