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49ers looking to further grow U.K. fandom

49ers already have a core following in the U.K., as their 80s and 90s success coincided with Channel 4-inspired boom in fandomGetty Images

When the 49ers travel to Green Bay for their NFC Divisional matchup with the Packers on Saturday, they will "not only be representing San Francisco," as they also will be "flying the flag for the U.K. -- in a manner of speaking," according to Charles Walford of the LONDON TIMES. The franchise is one of the six who are "now allowed to market themselves in the UK," with the wider aim being to "grow the game and grow their respective fanbases." The 49ers have "already put themselves at an advantage" as they are the only team among the six -- the others being the Jaguars, Bears, Dolphins, Vikings, and Jets -- who made the playoffs this season. The 49ers also "already have a core following in the U.K.," with their "period of dominance in the 80s and 90s coinciding with the Channel 4-inspired boom in fandom." 49ers CMO Alex Chang said, "One of the things that we looked at when we selected the countries that we would try to go into was an existing fanbase. And we’re fortunate enough to have seen quite a bit of success, especially in the 80s and 90s. And so we do have a very large fanbase in the U.K. And that definitely was one of the contributing factors to us selecting that." The 49ers have "already tied themselves to the U.K.," with 49ers Enterprises owning a share in Leeds United (LONDON TIMES, 1/21).

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