Premier League Profiles Help Sector to Score with Overseas Students: News

By Matthews, David | The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, August 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Premier League Profiles Help Sector to Score with Overseas Students: News


Matthews, David, The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


British universities may benefit from local clubs' international exposure. David Matthews reports.

With just over a week to go until the start of another Premier League season, football fans are not the only ones taking a keen interest in the fortunes of their local clubs.

Universities are using the competition's huge global audience, estimated at 643 million households during the 2010-11 season, to entice overseas students to their campuses.

Staffordshire University has sponsored a stand at Stoke City, which won promotion to the Premier League in 2008, for the past two years. Paul Richards, its deputy vice-chancellor, explained that the international profile that comes from an associated top-flight club is "increasingly significant".

"One of the things (overseas students) really like is being able to see Premiership football live," he said.

He explained that Staffordshire representatives who visit the Asia-Pacific region, where Premier League fame and international student recruitment are greatest, find that applicants are keen to see one Stoke player in particular: Peter Crouch, the gangly striker who has made 42 appearances for England.

The deal with Stoke provides the university with a number of free tickets that it often gives away to students, Professor Richards added.

Football-keen overseas students generally come to see "a couple of games a season" rather than follow the side week-in, week-out, he said, adding that Staffordshire could consider bundling cut-price season tickets along with tuition fees.

Swansea University has also benefited from a surge in interest since Swansea City was promoted to the Premier League in 2011, particularly among African students, and this season will enter an agreement with the club that includes television and match programme advertising. …

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