Premier League pre-season tours: a feast for fans in far-flung destinations

The international pre-season trip has become a way not just for English clubs to make money, but to open themselves up to supporters around the world

It is not only superfans of the elite who are catered for in the modern era of the pre-season international extravaganza. Mansfield Town are warming up for the new League Two campaign in Malta, and the club offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to their supporters including travel with the players on a private Stags Air jet, an invitation to an exclusive barbecue, and five-star hotel stay, all for a mere £3,000. Mansfield beat a Malta Players Association XI 5-0 in the baking heat over the weekend. What better way to build up to the new dawn that 2017-18 might bring?

The pre-season tour has become a significant moment in any club’s calendar. While managers might pine for more serene preparation with the emphasis on fine-tuning the bodies of athletes to handle the upcoming months of relentless competition, pre-season as an event is here to stay. You can imagine marketing gurus sticking pins in maps and circling dates years in advance. Certainly at elite level, for clubs who gear themselves towards growing their international fanbase, summer tours are now extensively planned. There are millions to be made in appearance money, sponsors are granted special access that is more difficult to accommodate in the season proper, and brand building with long distance or new fans is championed.

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