China building Lionel Messi-themed amusement park | inside World Soccer

China building Lionel Messi-themed amusement park

Friday, June 2, 2017

A group of Spanish and Chinese firms are set to take on Disneyland by creating an amusement park based entirely on the life and career of soccer superstar Lionel Messi.

The Messi Experience Park, which is due to open to the public in 2019, will have more than 20 attractions spread out over a site of more than 80,000sq metres in Nanjing, eastern China.

The amusement attraction will use virtual and augmented reality technology to give fans football training clinics, entertainment activities and displays of Messi's career highlights.

In all, it will feature 46,000sq metres of indoor facilities, alongside 12,000sq metres of "garden game areas" and 25,000sq metres of public space.

Launching the theme park during a four-day trip to China, Messi said he hoped the attraction would increase the number of children taking up football.

I hope to provide them the experience they never had before and to inspire them to pick up the sport early on.

Hopefully, they will feel that I am around when visiting the park.

The new attraction will be developed by Messi's Leo Messi Management, the group that manages his image rights, together with Chinese broadcaster Phoenix Group and Spanish production company Mediapro.

Mediapro operate several sports-related exhibition spaces and theme parks, including the Futbol Club Barcelona Museum for Messi's home club Barcelona.

The park is only the latest addition to a theme park boom in China, as international media companies look to tap into the exploding market for on-site entertainment in the region.

According to World Travel Market and Euromonitor, theme park revenue in China will reach $12 billion by 2020, overtaking both the U.S. and Japan, the world's two largest markets today.

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