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Inside Access: Now TV’s Yancy Chu enjoys Premier League ‘crash course’

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Now TV presenter Yancy Chu (right) with former South China defender Evans Choi (centre) and commentator Calvin Pui (left) at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium during a visit to various Premier League clubs ahead of this year’s Barclays Asia Trophy.

In the third of a series of interviews about this year’s Barclays Asia Trophy, SportAsia talks to Now TV presenter YANCY CHU about her Premier League ‘crash course’ with commentator Calvin Pui and pundit Evans Choi as part of the Hong Kong broadcaster’s coverage of the biennial event.

 

By SportAsia

 

You were a presenter, Calvin Pui was a commentator and former South China defender Evans Choi was a pundit for Now TV’s coverage of this year’s Barclays Asia Trophy. In May, the three of you were part of an action-packed tour of Premier League football. What did your trip involve?

Evans Choi, Yancy Chu and Calvin Pui visit the Premier League headquarters.

Evans Choi, Yancy Chu and Calvin Pui visit the Premier League headquarters.

During our trip to England, we focused on visiting seven different clubs in England, including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur – two of the teams who were coming to Hong Kong – Liverpool and others. We also watched a live Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan. We were able to interview many players from the Manchester City team as well as Scott Parker from Tottenham Hotspur.

 

When we were in London, we visited the Premier League headquarters and visited Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League.

 

We presented Mr Scudamore with a framed photo of a Chinese character (滿), which has quite a lot of meanings. One of them is full or fulfillment. We gave it to Mr Scudamore and wished him good ticket sales and a full house for the Barclays Asia Trophy, as well as a successful new season for the Barclays Premier League.

 

5.-RichardScudamore-YancyChu_cropWhat were your personal highlights about visiting England?

I’d travelled to England many times before, but never for football or sports business, so it was really eye-opening trip for me. At the same time I think it was a one-of-a-kind experience to go to so many the clubs all in one trip.

 

It was like a mini Premier League ‘crash course’ for me, to understand their traditions, their little superstitious traits in the locker rooms, their good-luck actions like tapping the Liverpool badge in the Anfield stadium before entering the pitch.

 

You asked several players to speak Cantonese to the camera for a pre-tournament video. Which footballer had the ‘best’ Cantonese?
Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure of Manchester City. Also, I noticed that all the players were very well media trained.

 

England’s Scott Parker, then with Tottenham Hotspur, impressed the Now TV team.

England’s Scott Parker, then with Tottenham Hotspur, impressed the Now TV team.

Who were your favourite players you interviewed for the Barclays Asia Trophy?

I think I have to say Scott Parker. He was talking to us casually at the back when he was about to leave and one of my colleagues handed him a magazine with him on the cover in a West Ham shirt. He signed it and gave us a thumbs-up and a little joke before he left. It’s nice to see the relaxed side of players off the pitch.

 

In late May, the three of you shared the stage with Premier League TV host John Dykes for the tournament press conference in Hong Kong announcing ticket prices. Can you talk about the success of ticket sales, with the majority selling on the first day?
Yes, it was a big success. I think Hong Kong people have such a great connection with the Premier League because of watching it for so many years. Even if the Barclays Asia Trophy only comes to Asia every two years, it does make it the highlight of the week and almost like a festival for most people.

 

At the same time, I think it’s great players can come to make an appearance and play in front of Hong Kong and other fans in Asia, as it does bring a stronger connection to us. It’s also an amazing introduction for this year’s Premier League matches on Now TV.

 

Choi (left) and Pui enjoy their time at Anfield.

Choi (left) and Pui enjoy their time at Anfield.

Why do you think the Barclays Asia Trophy is so popular for Hong Kong football fans?
It’s simple. For Hong Kong people, when you refer to football, it’s immediately related to the Premier League. As it’s a continuing game throughout the year, it brings the people together to constantly discuss and be on top of the topic.

 

As I mentioned, I think the Barclays Asia Trophy gives people a chance to view the legendary players closely, but also at the same time bring the whole Hong Kong spirit together. Even though we love our Premier League teams, we do stay close to South China when they’re on field, so it’s a great occasion where we can show our team spirit.

 

I think ticket sales and attendances were 10/10, the quality of football was 8/10, and that’s mainly because the weather and pitch conditions were disappointing, because of the rain.

 

Chu was impressed by the Etihad Stadium, home of 2012 Premier League champions Manchester City.

Chu was impressed by Etihad Stadium, home of 2011-12 BPL champions Manchester City.

What did Hong Kong fans think of this year’s three Premier League teams?
In my opinion, I think that this year’s line up was very impressive, compared to the past. This year we had two teams, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, which Hong Kong fans are really into at the moment.

 

I also think it’s nice to bring a team like Manchester City who have only recently become champions (2012), so fans here can see how the ‘new’ strong teams perform in life rather than the traditionally strong teams.

 

How do you feel South China performed in the tournament, losing 1-0 to Manchester City then 6-0 to Spurs?
I think South China played well against these international teams and tried to use their advantage of knowing their weather and environment better than European players, certainly in the first match.

 

What were the special challenges for Now TV as the local broadcaster of the tournament and what have you learnt from past editions?
To be honest, I think Now TV covered the Barclays Asia Trophy very well because of our experience at Hong Kong Stadium. We had over 10 commentators switching in and out of the stadium for the two matchdays on the Wednesday and Saturday, and many film crew covering outside and pre-game excitement, so I think we got it pretty well covered. Apart from the matches, we covered some pre-match training sessions with local youngsters and also with the coaches. We also covered the Premier League press conference when the teams arrived in Hong Kong.

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