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SBD Global/October 18, 2012/Media

CCTV-IMG Sign 10-Year Partnership With Chinese Football Super League

CCTV-IMG, a joint venture between China state TV network CCTV and IMG Worldwide, has entered into a 10-year partnership with the Chinese Super League, the country's top football league. This includes developing the CSL, helping improve management of Chinese football clubs, advising on development of training programs for young and future players and establishing corporate sponsors for CSL events. CCTV-IMG will immediately launch a marketing effort to bring new corporate partners to the CSL, including title sponsorship of the league beginning in '14 (CCTV-IMG).

DEVELOPING THE SPORT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Futterman & Mozur wrote the deal marks IMG's "return to a leadership position in one of China's most popular sports." IMG "helped China create the country's first professional league, the Jia-A League, in the early '90s, but the two entities parted ways in '03 when the league turned to another company." However, during the past decade, Chinese football "has been racked with charges of bribery and corruption, with dozens of officials sent to jail." A new generation of Chinese billionaires "has taken over" the 16-team league and "has begun to import some of the biggest stars in the world," including former Chelsea F Didier Drogba, who this year joined the Shanghai club. Drogba's move "signaled China's emergence as a growing force" in int'l football. IMG Senior VP/Global Business Development & Football Jefferson Slack said, "The Drogba signing was transformational." CSL club Qingdao Jonoon FC CEO and CSL Board Of Director member Yu Tao said that the league "decided to work with IMG partly to build the league's reputation abroad." Under the deal, IMG "will have a hand in every level" of the CSL, "assisting teams with selling tickets, running club operations and training players." China also is "intent on developing homegrown stars." IMG execs said that they have "discussed assisting with training but haven't reached an agreement on a defined role" (WSJ, 10/17).
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Media, China, IMG, CCTV

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