By Paul Kennedy
How does the Real Madrid Resort Island sound? That will be the name of the $1 billion theme park to be built on a man-made island in the United Arab Emirates.
The resort, located on the northern emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah, will feature a five-star hotel, beachside bungalows, amusement park, oceanside 10,000-seat stadium and hi-tech club museum. Sports facilities will include training fields and swimming pools, plus a marina for yachting.
"Real Madrid Resort Island will be a major tourist and sporting center of great dimensions and the highest level," Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said. "This extraordinary complex will attract millions of people looking for quality leisure services. This is a decisive and strategic step which contributes to strengthening our institution in the Middle East and Asia."
The investment group behind the project is the RAK Marjan Island Football Investment Fund.
UNION BREAKS NEW GROUND. The Philadelphia Union has taken building a relationship with its season-ticket holders to a new level.
Jeff Gammage of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the Union's ground-breaking "Loyalty Rewards" similar to a frequent flier program. Fans are not just rewarded for showing up. They earn points for showing up early or on rainy days. With 13,500 season-ticket holders at 18,500-seat PPL Park, the Union has lots of loyal fans with whom they interact digitally through a plastic ticket card that serves as their ticket and on which they accumulate points. Fans can use their points to upgrade for better seats or receive player gear, among other things.
The points system was used to pick a Fan of the Year. "I had no idea I would come close to getting Fan of the Year," said the winner, 40-year-old Jason Thurston. "I was pretty blown away." His prizes included a complimentary stay at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City.
SPONSORSHIP FRONT. El Jimado is holding its “Cinco de Jimi Cup” contest in which participants can win a trip to Casa Herradura in Mexico to play a friendly match alongside former soccer legends from the U.S. and Mexican National teams. Eleven prize winners will receive round-trip airfare, accommodations and local transportation for themselves and a guest.
TWEET WATCH. Wayne Rooney ranks No. 1 on TweetStarGame's Klout list of soccer all-stars. Other players on the starting XI: forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Owen, midfielders Jack Wilshire, Emmanuel Frimpong, Cesc Fabregas and defenders Rio Ferdinand, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique and goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
TV SPOTS. Century 21 Real Estate has signed on to be the official real estate company of U.S. Soccer. It's "Our Smarter. Bolder. Faster" commercials will air during Olympic qualifying on Universal Sports and NBC Sports Network, and it will serve as the sponsor of the halftime show in all six games.
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