Football club Aston Villa is in talks to create an international reality television programme, to strengthen its links with its domestic ethnic-minority fan base and its international supporters.
The programme would track the progress of several young footballers, selected from football training academies set up by the club around the world. Aston Villa is talking to TV networks in territories such as the US, India and the West Indies about the programme. A deal in the UK is expected by the end of the week, with a network that would also work on producing the show.
Networks in various countries would follow the progress of their nation’s footballers from the academy towards the Premiership team. In the UK, the programme would trace a local young Asian footballer as he tries to break into the team.
A source says the programme will help to bring the club closer to the local ethnic population, while taking the Aston Villa name into homes around the world. The programme is also expected to involve a deal with IT giant Cisco Systems.
Aston Villa marketing director Phil Smith says the club is trying to find different ways to relate to people around the world, rather than simply touring different countries with the team. Smith joined Aston Villa as marketing chief last year, from wholesale grocer Blueheath (MW October 23, 2003).