Barclays Asia Trophy vital for EPL growth in Asia, says Scudamore

English Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore says the Barclays Asia Trophy is crucial for the league to connect with its growing Asian fanbase.

The biennial tournament -- started in 2003 -- is in its seventh edition, with Singapore hosting for the first time. Everton beat Stoke and Arsenal defeated the Singapore Select XI on Wednesday to advance to Saturday's final.

"Asia is where the Premier League's biggest audience is," said 55-year-old Scudamore at the Premier League Workshop, an event jointly organised by the Premier League and the Asian Football Confederation in Singapore.

"This tournament has been a great way for the league and the clubs to reach out to the Asian support base. I am delighted that it has continued to receive a positive response in Singapore.

"The Premier League has recently established official relationships with the Indian Super League and the Chinese Super League and we've had a long-standing support base in Southeast Asia as well. We are the number one league in the region and are proud of that. We will continue to ensure that we reach out to the followers in Asia through multiple ways of which the Barclays Asia Trophy is an important element."

Scudamore, who took his new designation earlier this year after becoming the chief executive in 1999, praised the league's existing mutual cooperation agreement with the Asian governing body.

"I have been in football long enough to know that such agreements need not always work. However, here we have a case of a relationship that has worked very well and with which both entities are happy about," he said.

Premier League's director of communications Dan Johnson said that the league had 339.5 million viewers in Asia and Oceania together in the 2013-14 season.

Johnson said that in 2013-14, China, India and Thailand -- at 52, 49 and 47 percent respectively -- were the three international markets with the largest broadcast penetration after Nigeria at 54 percent.

The Premier League is also the second most followed sporting event in Singapore, said Johnson, with a 38 percent interest among the country's adult population compared to the quadrennial FIFA World Cup, topping the list at 43 percent.