From retreats in the mountains to run, sweat and toil, to the big clubs’ desire to export their brand around the world: how the summer of football clubs has changed…

It used to be in the mountains, at high altitude, to escape the heat of the big cities and to prepare for the following season in the best possible way: in football, ‘the summer retreat’ is the resumption after the holidays, it is that moment where you run, you toil, and you lay the foundations for the following months. And, if until a few years ago it was unthinkable to change the routine of a phase of the season considered sacred by coaches and trainers, things have changed over the years, especially for clubs of international calibre: more and more teams, in fact, dedicate this period of the year to international tours around the world, important with a view to developing and exporting their brand. It is the only time of year when it is possible to do so, before the start of the championships and away from the pressures of performance or results.

WHERE THE ITALIANS GO. While many teams keep the mountains as their training camp location, those who do move really do go from the east to the west, via the very tip of Europe. Juve, Milan, Inter and Roma are the teams that have decided to leave in these days of July: the former are engaged in the Soccer Champions Tour, the tournament that takes place in the United States and in which Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid also take part; Inter are in Japan where they will play two luxury friendlies against Paris Saint Germain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, while Roma are in Portugal, Jose Mourinho’s homeland, for the fourth time in the last three years and after having renounced the friendlies scheduled in Singapore and Korea: In this case, the sporting aspect and preparation for the season have prevailed over business commitments.

WHY TOURNÉE.We resume the communiqués of AC Milan and Inter respectively: “The presence in a strategic territory such as the North American market will offer the Club the opportunity to continue the Club’s growth path off the field and to strengthen the positive perception of the AC Milan brand internationally,” write the Rossoneri. While Inter emphasise that “The Inter Japan Tour 2023 will also be marked by various activations and exclusive events that will involve the entire Inter universe. The aim is to further consolidate the presence of the Nerazzurri brand in the territory.” In short, the concept is clear: to grow the brand even in markets far from Italy, considering that AC Milan is the strongest Italian football club in the States (43 million fans according to YouGov international market research) and Inter boasts over 300 Inter Club members between Tokyo and Osaka, and has a fan base of over 2 million fans in the Japanese country.

NUMBERS. The tours, in addition to the previously discussed theme of brand development and global positioning (which consequently generates revenue), also bring in revenue. Precise figures are difficult to quantify, but according to certain estimates, Real Madrid grossed 15 million last year in the American tour, while the Japan Tour will bring Inter an income of around 2.5 million euros, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport (and as reported by the ‘Calcio e Finanza’ portal in this article:

The photos accompanying this content were taken from the social profiles of Bologna FC 1909, Ac Milan, Inter FC.