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Real Madrid plans interactive football experience in China

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East Devon District Council
£41,418 - £48,474pa + local govt pension + benefits
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Real Madrid football club has announced plans to create an interactive football experience centre as part of a major development in Zhuhai, China.

Business conglomerate the Lai Sun Group is behind the development – an integrated tourism and entertainment project called Novotown – which will, in its second phase, feature the world-first Real Madrid experience.

Utilising advanced technologies, entertainment elements and football, visitors will be able to experience a number of football encounters, managing a personalised player profile to track their progress as they move through the 12,000sq m (129,000sq ft) centre. Virtual and augmented reality will play a heavy role in the attraction, which will also include various challenges and entertainment experiences, as well as a museum chronicling Real Madrid’s history.

The design of the centre has been visualised by attractions design studio iP2Entertainment, who have showcased their vision in a series of new renderings and a video.

“We always want to share the feeling of belonging to this club and we're happy because this agreement will bring us closer to a great country like China, where we’ve had a big emotional bond for some time,” said Emilio Butragueno, club director of institutional relations for Real Madrid.

"We are grateful to the Lai Sun Group because this agreement makes it possible for Real Madrid to be even closer to our fans in China, a country that we all have in our hearts."

John Tse, head of the Novotown Project for Lai Sun Group, added: “With their expertise in football training, Real Madrid will be able to bring about highly participative and personalised sports entertainment experiences.

“The interactive football centre is instrumental to develop the culture of sports entertainment and establish a diversified range of industries to promote the region’s tourism economy. It is our aim to nurture a sporting culture, especially in the area of football, among the younger generation.”

The wider Novotown project, situated at the heart of the Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai City, covers 1.4sq km (356 acres) with the Lai Sun Group holding an 80 per cent interest in the development.

Approved in January 2015, phase one of the development will feature a Lionsgate Entertainment World, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, attraction Healthcare and Beauty Cultural Center, multi-purpose performance hall, wedding venue, Hyatt Regency Hotel, and retail and dining options. Phase one is expected to be complete in 2018. The Real Madrid experience has a tentative opening date set for 2021.

Spanish football is proving to be a major draw for Chinese attractions developers. FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi has inspired a new theme park in Nanjing – described as “a unique global experience” that will allow visitors “to immerse themselves in all things Messi”. China’s Phoenix Group and Spanish conglomerate Mediapro are backing the project, which will have over 20 multimedia attractions.

Outside of China, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is also involved in a number of international attractions and leisure projects, including a football-themed entertainment centre in the Middle East, developed with Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar; his own range of CR7 gyms, created with US-based health club chain Crunch Fitness; and a museum dedicated to himself in his hometown of Funchal, Portugal.

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Real Madrid football club has announced plans to create an interactive football experience centre as part of a major development in Zhuhai, China.
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