IMG retains CSL international rights to 2020
International broadcast rights to the Chinese Super League will continue to be sold by IMG until at least 2020 after the international sports and entertainment agency finalised a three-year agreement with China Sports Media, the sports marketing agency in country.
The three-season agreement again includes in-flight rights, and advice to the CSL on broadcast production.
IMG said that its work with CSL also includes the provision of strategic advice and insight and representing certain centralised sponsorship packages.
IMG was first brought on board to market the CSL’s international rights in a contract covering the 2016 and 2017 seasons and in the wake of a wave of spending by clubs on overseas stars.
However, the league, under pressure from the government, has since introduced rules that at least one Chinese player under the age of 23 must start each game and cut the number of foreign players in each squad from five to four, while also imposing a 100-per-cent tax on foreign transfer imports.
Indeed, CSM recently renegotiated its own CSL media rights and production agreement, extending the deal to 10 years, but reducing its annual spend to Yn1.1 billion ($174 million) per year (from Yn1.6 billion per year).
Zhao Jun, CSM’s general manager, said: “CSM has enjoyed a long and broad relationship with IMG and especially over the last two years. IMG has used its international influence and expertise to successfully support CSL to expand the coverage into around 100 territories/countries, as well as achieving a positive impact to enhance the League’s profile.
“IMG’s experience with international leagues has also helped CSL to improve in areas such as world feed production, training and consulting. We are very much looking forward to working with IMG for the next three years.”
Michael Mellor, senior vice-president of IMG Media, remarked: “The CSL continues to go from strength to strength with broadcast deals currently in place in nearly 100 countries around the world. Our aim is to grow this further over the coming three years in terms of both territories and audience.”
The 2018 CSL season kicked off last Friday.