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Leo Messi-Backed Theme Park Under Development with Phoenix Group, Mediapro Group

Variety logo Variety 6/5/2017 Jamie Lang
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MADRID —  As any soccer fan can tell you, the recent impact that China has had on the international game is profound. With some of the biggest names in the game having gone east to ply their trade, and more rumored to join them, the Beautiful Game has grown exponentially in popularity in one of the world’s fastest expanding markets.

China’s Phoenix Group and Spain’s Mediapro Group will be looking to capitalize on that popularity boom by attaching one of the biggest names in the history of the sport to their new project, the Messi Experience Park (MEP). The soccer-themed park will be located in Naijing China and offer visitors an gateway to “all things Messi,” according to the partners.

The park will feature more than 20 attractions in a 150,000 square-foot indoor facility. Additionally, there will be 40,000 square-feet of playing fields and 82,000 square-feet of public space. Messi Experience Park is set to open in early 2019.

Leo Messi Management, as the name implies, focuses on managing and exploiting the image rights of the Barcelona forward, along with a host of other professional athletes.

The project has been under development for more than two years, receiving additional support from the Sancel Group, as well as designers from Catalan firm Daw Office.

Publicly traded, Phoenix Group, a Chinese broadcaster, currently airs their six channels in over 180 countries and regions, and is a primary source of Chinese media for ex-pats living abroad. With domestic services on mainland China and Hong Kong alike, it focuses on sports and culture. The partnership marks a continuation of its efforts at diversification.

Producing films with Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”) and Roman Polanski (“Carnage”), and now driving into high-end TV fiction such as “The Young Pope,” with Sky Italia, HBO and Canal Plus and upcoming series from Daniel’s Burman’s Burman Office, Mediapro is also one of Europe’s foremost sports rights-brokers.

Mediapro has helped develop the Fútbol Club Barcelona Museum, the Real Madrid Museum, the Ferrari Land Gallery (Port Aventura), the AC Milan Museum and the Brazilian Confederation of Football Museum. It is the experience gained on these and other projects that Mediapro will be looking to implement on the new and ambitious venture.

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