CCTV Signs Long-Term Chinese Football Association Super League Deal

By Community | October 17, 2012

CCTV-IMG, a joint venture between CCTV, China’s state television network, and IMG Worldwide, has entered into a comprehensive, strategic, 10-year partnership with the Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL). 

CCTV-IMG and the CSL will work jointly to bring global best practices to capitalize on the enormous popularity of football in China. This includes developing the CSL, helping improve management of Chinese football clubs, advising on development of world-class training programs for young and future players, and bringing of corporate sponsors for CSL events. The CSL has continued to grow with the national telecasts on CCTV of nearly 70 matches this year as well as the continuing arrival of some the world’s top footballers and managers. 

As a result of this agreement, IMG is back in China’s professional football market after a ten-year hiatus. Through this new strategic partnership, CCTV-IMG will immediately launch a broad based marketing effort to bring new corporate partners to the CSL, including the title sponsorship of the league from 2014. CCTV-IMG will also create training programs for league and club management, interface with top international football entities, develop special football events and establish a high level global football forum in China. 

Michael Dolan, Chairman and CEO of IMG Worldwide, Mr. Wei Di, Head of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), Mr. Jiang Heping, Managing Director of CCTV Sports and Chairman of CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company, Mr. Zhu Qilin, Acting President of CSL, Mr. Adam Zhu, President and CEO of IMG China, and other guests attended the signing ceremony in Beijing. 

Before the signing, Chairman Wei said, “It is mutually beneficial and synergistic for CCTV-IMG and CSL to form this strategic partnership at this historic time in Chinese football. I am especially pleased that IMG is returning to Chinese football after a 10-year interval, and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) is happy to support this partnership to develop the CSL into a world-class league. I look forward to working with our partner to build Chinese professional football together.” 

“We believe this partnership can be very powerful,” said Michael Dolan of IMG. “As IMG is involved in all sports around the world, we know that football has become the one true international sport. Judging from the success of Chinese sports team in the Olympic Games, we believe that working together we can also develop world-class Chinese footballers and teams,” the IMG Chair continued. “CCTV-IMG and the CSL, combined with the reforms implemented by Chairman Wei, truly sets the table for international development of football in China. I pledge that all of IMG’s worldwide expertise and resources will be available to support this strategic initiative.” 

Mr. Jiang Heping, Managing Director, CCTV Sports and Chairman, CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company said “For CCTV, especially CCTV Sports, CSL is a valuable partner that provides important broadcasting content. CCTV is committed to our role in developing CSL in the long run, and CCTV Sports will invest more resources to support the CSL in the future. We view IMG’s return to football in China as a show of confidence in the CSL and the Chinese football market. Today is a new beginning; I wish our partnership great success.” 

Mr. Zhu Qilin, Acting President, CSL Co. Ltd added, “Twenty years ago IMG worked with CFA to start the first professional football league in China and achieved tremendous success. Today, at a time when the CSL is about to turn 10 and when Chinese football needs help and support most, IMG is coming back. We hope that through this strategic partnership with CCTV-IMG we will be able to secure CCTV’s continued support and leverage IMG’s expertise and resources in marketing and event execution. We believe that this partnership will be a very productive and successful one.” 

Yu Hongchen, Vice Chairman of CFA and Chairman of the CSL stated after the signing, “Chinese professional football, which was started with the tremendous support from IMG twenty years ago, has achieved great success and also experienced substantial challenges. Now our partnership with IMG is entering a new era. At a time when the CSL is coming into its tenth season, CCTV-IMG has now become our strategic partner. We look forward to working with our old friend and new partner to build a prosperous future for the Chinese football.” 

Adam Zhu, President and CEO of IMG China said, “The Chinese people take football very seriously, especially in the current situation. It’s a matter of patriotism and pride. Hence the urgency to build Chinese football to world-class standards. IMG and CCTV value this unique opportunity to partner with the CSL. It’s beyond business.”