MANCHESTER: Amazon is making its first foray into the globally popular and lucrative English football market with plans to produce a behind-the-scenes TV series following Manchester City FC through its 2017-18 season.

Manchester City, which currently tops the English Premier League, announced in a statement that the TV show will be an Amazon Prime Original, which will be shown in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

The deal is reported to be worth more than £10m and will involve Amazon Prime filming the team and coach Pep Guardiola as they prepare for matches and afterwards, as well as exclusive interviews and other insights into the day-to-day workings of the club.

“Amazon Prime Video is the perfect home for a ground-breaking project that will offer a unique and authentic inside view into Manchester City’s season like never before,” said Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City.

“This is an extremely exciting time for Manchester City and through Amazon’s world-class service, we will be able to share it with football fans all over the world,” he added.

The announcement last week came a day after City reported a 21% increase in annual revenues to a record £473.4m. It also comes as the club recently became the first in the Premier League to attract one million YouTube subscribers, Marketing Week reported.

Its YouTube channel has been viewed 350m times since launching in 2011, with 51 videos achieving more than one million views, and the club is reported to have added 250,000 subscribers in the past year alone.

In addition, Manchester City has grown its following across other platforms, such as Instagram (up 60% to 5m), Twitter (up 33% to 8.1m) Facebook (up 18% to 25m).

For Omar Berrada, the club’s Chief Operating Officer, its video and social media activity is all about engaging fans as closely as possible and creating a two-way channel of communication.

“It’s not just about the match because today you can find match highlights very easily on different platforms, it’s more about getting to know the players better and what happens behind the scenes,” he told Marketing Week in an interview.

He added that Manchester City may have millions of fans around the world, but these would be just numbers if the team didn’t find ways of engaging them through its digital strategy.

“We are very clear about what it is that we want to achieve by putting fans at the heart of everything we do,” Berrada said. “We are really about engagement and it’s not just knowing the numbers superficially, it’s about developing that relationship with the fans in a meaningful way.”

Sourced from Manchester City, Marketing Week; additional content by WARC staff