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SBD Global/November 30, 2012/Finance

Chinese Football Clubs Tied To Major Investments From Real Estate Industry

The development of China's professional football league "is closely associated with the real estate industry," as 14 of the 16 teams that comprise the Chinese Super League are owned by realtors or firms with links to the industry, according to the WANT CHINA TIMES. Property tycoons "spend huge amounts of money to support and develop their teams, recruiting internationally renowned players with contracts worth millions of dollars." Of the various sports popular in China, football "tops them all." The "beautiful game has become a platform for the country's super wealthy to parade and exercise their status, wealth and power." Guangzhou Evergrande FC, owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, "is a conspicuous example." Since '09, the company "has spent big money hiring int'l star coaches and players for the club, greatly boosting its profile." In '10, Evergrande invested 170M yuan ($27M) in the team, rising to 530M yuan ($85M) in '11 and then 370M ($59M) this year. Following Evergrande's lead, each of the 15 other clubs in China's top flight "stepped up their investment in their teams" this year, and so far "total investments in league teams" already exceeds 3B yuan ($480M) (WANT CHINA TIMES, 11/28).
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