Hoang Anh Gia Lai are the club which attracted the biggest crowd to their stadium in the first round of Vietnam’s top-flight league, which kicked off on Sunday, because of their Arsenal-supported academy players.
Hosting Sanna Khanh Hoa in the V-League 1 at Pleiku Stadium two days ago, Hoang Anh Gia Lai earned VND354.8 million (US$17,100) in cash from the sale of tickets.
The sum excludes the payment by regular supporters who bought year-round tickets before the start of the 2015 season, said Huynh Mau, director of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai football company.
Around 13,000 supporters were at Pleiku Stadium in the central province of Gia Lai on Sunday to watch their home team beat Sanna Khanh Hoa 4-2.
The club estimate that they will earn at least VND5 billion ($240,400) from ticket sales this season.
Earlier, Hoang Anh Gia Lai sealed a VND15 billion ($721,150) deal with the sponsor Nutifood – a Vietnamese company – for the 2015 season.
Advertisements at Pleiku Stadium are projected to bring in at least VND3 billion ($144,200) for the club this season.
Vietnamese television channel VTV6 has confirmed it will air live all 13 matches of Hoang Anh Gia Lai in the first leg of the season, including seven games at Pleiku Stadium and six other away games.
Overall, Hoang Anh Gia Lai plan to earn total income of VND24 billion ($1.15 million) in the 2015 season and spend VND16 billion ($769,200), according to Doan Nguyen Duc, 53, the boss of the club and one of Vietnam’s richest magnates.
Duc invested $4 million to found the Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Arsenal JMG football academy in Gia Lai in 2007. Graduates of the first seven-year course of the school started playing for Hoang Anh Gia Lai this season in the clash with Sanna Khanh Hoa.
Both fans and Hoang Anh Gia Lai were pleased when the home players crushed Sanna Khanh Hoa 4-2, with a brace from playmaker Cong Phuong in the 40th and 66th minutes.
Nguyen Anh Tuan and Luong Xuan Truong netted the other goals for Hoang Anh Gia Lai in the 26th and 59th minutes. The visitors got back two goals in the 48th and 73rd minutes.
The V-League 1 is the top-tier league competition in Vietnam, followed by the V-League 2.
Fourteen clubs from the 14 provinces and cities with the most developed football programs in the nation are competing in the 2015 V-League 1, including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Dong Tam Long An, Dong Thap, Hanoi T&T, Hai Phong, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Quang Nam, Sanna Khanh Hoa, SHB Da Nang, Song Lam Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, and Can Tho.
The competition will be organized in three stages with two breaks, starting January 4 and ending September 20.
The league will pause from February 15 to April 12 for players to take part in the qualifiers of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship in Malaysia from March 23 to 31, and from May 3 to June 28 so the Vietnamese national team can attend the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.