Unlike other over-promising entrepreneurs before him who have bought their way into English Premiership football clubs, newly minted Queens Park Rangers boss Tony Fernandes is at least a realist. Immediately after controlling 66% of the recently promoted club, the AirAsia and Team Lotus F1 owner declared that he will not make any lofty promises and that he “wouldn’t have got involved if he didn’t think it was a profitable venture”.
Clearly, it is all about the business prospects and not merely about living out a childhood dream now that he has the means to do so. While Fernandes cautions that building a winning philosophy at QPR may take years, judging by his recent track record, fans over at Loftus Road can start preparing for better days ahead and possibly even dream of reliving the club’s glory years during the mid 1970s.
With the Premiership attracting growing interest from wealthy American, Russian and Indian businessmen, it is fantastic to finally see a Malaysian name onboard arguably the most exciting football league in the world. Why did it take us so long – Fernandes is only ranked 20th in Forbes’ list of richest Malaysians – to take over an English football club is beyond my comprehension especially with the obvious global marketing and branding benefits on offer.
While much has been spoken and written about his entrepreneurial abilities and how Asia’s budget airlines poster boy bought over the airlines for the cost of a teh-tarik drink and transformed it into the region’s largest budget airlines ten years later, it is his passion for marketing and branding that stands him out from the crowd. “Many people do not realise the power of sport to market a brand,” Fernandes said. Continue reading