The English Premier League is the most popular football league in the world, attracting supporters from all around the globe. It was founded in 1992 to replace the Football League First Division as the top flight of English football, the top twenty teams compete from August to May playing each other at home and away, at the end of the season the team with most points are crowned champions, whilst the bottom three teams are relegated to be replaced by the three teams from the Football League Championship.  During the summer break many teams allow their players a short holiday before starting pre-season training. In the past pre-season training involved getting fit after holiday indulgences, and friendly matches with lower league teams. However, now a days the top Premier League teams head off, far afield on summer tours showing off their Premier League shirt.

This year eighteen of the top twenty teams are going on summer tours, and will clock up a staggering 200,000 miles of travel between them.  Over the last few years these summer tours have focused on advertising Premier League football shirts, teams and players within the USA, this year however, many of the clubs are focusing on Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, Manchester United are one of the clubs to be visiting Australia, whilst Chelsea and Manchester City will be visiting the USA as well as parts of Asia.

All of these air miles, climate changes, jet lag and the media attention seem like a lot of trouble to play what are essentially unimportant, not particularly taxing games.  Whilst abroad our top stars including Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez and Frank Lampard will be playing friendly matches against unheard of teams such as Malaysia XI, Singha All Star XI from Thailand, and the Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.

These summer tours are not designed to improve the individual players fitness, or football skill, in fact many of the players see them as a waste of their time.  However, for the clubs these summer tours are seen as a way of boosting revenue, and there international profile. The clubs enter into sponsorship deals with local brands for example Chelsea have deals with Singha Beer in Thailand, and Myanmar's Grand Royal Whiskey, this is a great source of income for the club, as well as promoting the club as a desirable brand in up and coming economies.  The players have little time to interact with the local people and experience the countries culture, but PR companies engineer press conferences, meet and greet sessions for a select few and open training sessions.  These limited interaction opportunities including photo opportunities at airports, and well placed comments following the theme of, how happy they are to be in the country, or how nice it is are enough to satisfy the fans who clamour to be part of the super stardom that is English football.

The market for purchasing Premier League football shirts in countries such as Japan, as well many other countries around the world is booming. With the massive shift toward online shopping, and worldwide delivery options, retailers such as Soccerbox have opened up the availability of football kits to supporters anywhere. These pre-season tours ignite a desire in people from all around the world to be part of the biggest and best football league, one of the ways fans in England as well as globally show support for favored teams or players is by purchasing and wearing team kits.  Therefore, by successfully advertising themselves during summer tours, shirt sales are likely to increase in the territories that have been visited.

Do you think summer tours to the USA and Asia are worthwhile?

Do you think the players should be given more of a summer break, or do their high wage packets justify working throughout much of the summer?

Whichever Premier League team you support order your football shirt from Soccerbox now ready for the start of the new season next month.