The Hotel Football, a 133-guestroom soccer-themed property that opened last year next to the Manchester United home stadium, may become the first hotel a chain—following in the footsteps of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who is already developing four hotels across Europe and the U.S.
Singapore billionaire Peter Lim and former Manchester United players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are reportedly planning to open as many as 25 soccer-themed hotels across Asia and Europe over the next decade. Lim, who also owns Valencia football club, is negotiating with potential business partners about an expansion of the Football hotel and cafe brand, which has been backed by Neville and Giggs.
Lim’s Singapore-based real estate company Rowsley paid nearly £30 million last year for a 75-percent stake in Hotel Football. “We’ve been approached quite a lot by partners to expand,” he said of the growth plans. “Knowing there’s quite a lot of excitement in the market, we’re filtering down to the best opportunities that support our brand and product.”
The Cafe Football chain plans to open in Singapore in the first quarter of next year, adding to two existing UK outlets. And as for the hotels? “We’re looking at 5,000 rooms in the next 10 years,” Neville said. If each hotel has about 200 rooms, that would bring the total under the brand’s umbrella to 25 properties, likely in cities with a strong sports scene. Potential destinations could include India, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. “We’re looking for investors who can bring other resources, whether that’s land or property,” Tan Wee Tuck, chief financial officer at Rowsley, said.