Asian Football Confederation signs new commercial rights deal
Asian Football Confederation to benefit from a USD$425m annual deal from 202130 October 2018 | FT Editor
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced an eight-year commercial rights deal with the DDMC Fortis.
The deal covers the broadcast and commercial rights for all of the AFC's competitions, including the Asian Champions League, the Asian Cup, and final round of qualifying for the World Cup, for the period spanning 2021 to 2028.
The minimum guarantee is for USD$3.4 billion with bonuses and incentives that could take it to USD$4 billion.
The new deal means the AFC will end its relationship with existing partner Lagardere Sports and Entertainment (formerly World Sports Group) at the start of 2021, concluding an association that began in 1993.
The relationship between World Sports Group and former AFC President, Mohamed Bin Hammam, was the subject of investigation and speculation by the AFC after Bin Hammam's ban from football in 2011.
DDMC Fortis is a joint venture between Fortis Sports, an expert sports marketing agency founded in Switzerland by Patrick Murphy and David Tyler, and DDMC, a Chinese Sports, Media and Entertainment company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. According to a Financial Times index, the company is principally engaged in sport and television business, but it is also involved in trading of phosphate, leasing, operation and management of student apartments, and commercial and residential real estate development.
In March this year, DDMC purchased the domestic (Chinese) broadcast rights for La Liga, while they also paid USD$500 million to purchase Super Sports Media, which hold the Chinese rights for the English Premier League.
“Alongside so many development initiatives, the AFC has been able to grow our competitions to the level where they are considered among the best in the world and we have seen the standards of our teams rise on the world stage," said AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa.
“The new agreement will now secure the financial future of our member associations as well as help the AFC further enhance our competitions and development programmes."
Shaikh Salman said that the deal will mean that the AFC has a "bright and prosperous future".
The partnership will focus on enhancing the competition brands with particular emphasis on engaging young audiences across the region for AFC's competitions and events. They will also develop and implement the next phase of the AFC’s fan focused marketing and digital strategy from 2021 onwards.
“We are incredibly enthusiastic about the length of the partnership as we strongly feel that, in cooperation with the AFC, we are in a position to transform the way Asian football is organised, enjoyed and commercialised across Asia,” said DDMC Fortis CEO, Patrick Murphy.
“We are excited to begin this journey of a new era in Asian football in partnership with the AFC. We believe a key factor to success will be the creation of a marketing and content strategy that focuses on fan entertainment and engagement.”
The AFC Member Associations will be given an overview of how the AFC plans to invest the current funds in 2019 and 2020 at the AFC Congress which is currently underway in Kuala Lumpur.
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