(WFI) Beer maker Tsingtao has become the first Chinese company to support the Asian Football Confederation commercially.
The AFC announced today that Tsingtao had inked a three-year sponsorship deal to support the confederation’s club programme.
The agreement comes into effect at the start of 2014 and follows the success of Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the 2013 AFC Champions League.
The final of the tournament was the most-watched sporting event on Chinese television over the last 12 months.
“We are delighted to welcome Tsingtao to the Asian football family as they become the latest elite brand to join our group of highly valued commercial partners,” said AFC general secretary, Dato’ Alex Soosay.
“The professionalism and exposure of our club competitions have been improving year-on-year and there is a lot to be gained by being associated with the club game in Asia.
“We are sure the relationship between the AFC and Tsingtao will be mutually beneficial and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”
In addition to supporting the AFC Champions League, Tsingtao’s association with club football in Asia extends to the company backing the AFC Cup, the AFC President’s Cup and the AFC Futsal Club Championship.
“Today marks another milestone of our sports marketing strategy as the first Chinese brand to be a partner of AFC,” said Wang Ruiyong, Tsingtao Brewery vice president and marketing president.
“I believe Tsingtao beer’s global brand influence can, through intensive promotional activities, promote the AFC Champions League internationally.
“We chose to sponsor AFC because they have the best football matches. We also recognise Guangzhou’s success in the AFC Champions League and celebrate this.”
More than 30 million people watched the second leg of the 2013 AFC Champions League final on Chinese television, the highest viewing figures in the competition’s history. The AFC hailed the figures as a further signal of the continuing growth of the continent’s leading club competition.
“This is a historic milestone for the AFC and its commercial partners, and we are all very excited,” said Nick Mould, president for East Asia at World Sport Group, the exclusive marketing partner of the AFC.
“Guangzhou’s success in the AFC Champions League led to record TV viewing figures and a total attendance figure totalling over 110,000 across both legs of the final and it is important to build on this to ensure significant value for our commercial partners.
“The AFC Champions League continues to go from strength-to-strength and this agreement highlights the impressive growth in the competition.”