25/08/2010 16:03, Report by Adam Bostock
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Fans at heart of media deals

Following the launch of United’s exciting new partnership with PCCW, spoke to three of the leading figures in the deal: Tom Chen (Managing Director, Consumer Group, PCCW), Janice Lee (Executive Vice President TV & New Media, PCCW) and Richard Arnold (Commercial Director, Manchester United).

You were at the Newcastle match on the eve of the launch, Tom. Was it your first game at Old Trafford, and if so, what did you make of it?
TC: “Yes, it was the first time I had attended a match at Old Trafford and I was so happy that Manchester United won, it was a great start to the season to win 3-0. It was a fantastic atmosphere, and I have to give credit to the supporters of Newcastle United for the way they supported their team throughout the match, despite the fact they were behind for most of the time. The whole evening was a wonderful experience for me.”

Finance is, of course, a driver in commercial deals like the one between United and PCCW. But emotion and passion are also involved when your market comprises football fans – did coming to the match further your understanding of this?
TC: “Absolutely. I was already very confident about the partnership after meeting Richard Arnold and his staff, they are all very professional. But after watching the game, experiencing the atmosphere at a packed stadium and seeing the passion of the fans and the players, I feel even more confident about the deal.”

How important is technology in the way fans in Hong Kong follow their favourite football teams?
JL: “I think we see all our technologies as being a means to deliver the Manchester United experience to fans, as close to being at Old Trafford itself as possible. We can perhaps never recreate the same atmosphere – as Tom said, it was incredible to experience that personally. Mobile phone penetration is very high in Hong Kong – almost 140 per cent, so many people can pull out more than one handset from their pocket. We have a very strong 3G

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