For sports fans in the United States, it’s playoff time for professional basketball and hockey. In Europe, fans of soccer—or football as they would call it—saw the Premier League wrap up its season at the start of this week. And there’s a definite Asian angle to that story. HPR’s Bill Dorman has it in today’s Asia Minute.
Leicester City famously beat the odds this season to win its first ever Premier League Championship—the pinnacle of English soccer.
And after beating odds of five-thousand to one, the team made a triumphant tour this week...to Thailand.
That’s where the club’s billionaire owner is from, and where he made his money in the duty-free business.
There was an open-air parade in Bangkok this week, and celebrations around the city. Even a special visit to the royal palace.
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports about ten monks from Bangkok’s Golden Buddha Temple were flown to Leicester to bless the players before most home games this year.
And there are other Asian ties.
Singapore’s Straits Times recently published the “Top Ten Asian Connections of Leicester City.”
It includes items about the team—such as the fact that striker Shinji Okazaki is Japan’s top active goal scorer in the world of professional soccer. Which means a lot of Leicester City games showed up on Japanese television this season.
The links stretch to South Asia as well.
The Indian festival of Diwali, the Festival of Light, drew more than 41,000 people to one part of Leicester this past November.
That’s according to the BBC, which also reports the city is believed to host the largest Diwali celebrations in the world….outside of India.