China's Migu to show 2023 Asian Cup on home soil in AFC rights swoop
Migu, a subsidiary of state-owned China Mobile Communications, has snapped up rights to all tournaments organised by the Asian Football Confederation for the 2021 to 2024 rights cycle, which includes the showpiece AFC Asian Cup on home soil in 2023.
The agreement also covers the qualifiers to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup in India, and the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup and AFC Futsal Club Championships.
The deal was brokered by Football Marketing Asia, the agency that sells commercial rights on behalf of the AFC outside of the Middle East and North Africa, which worked with Super Sports Media, a subsidiary of Chinese sports and entertainment giant Wuhan DDMC Culture, to find a media partner in the region.
DDMC is a partner in FMA, formerly known as DDMC Fortis, which was established to market commercial rights to AFC in a deal running from 2021 to 2028 worth well over $2 billion.
Migu becomes the first official regional partner of AFC national team competitions in China, a new partnership tier introduced by FMA and the AFC to the 2021-2024 rights cycle to "diversify and deepen localised partnership impact for brands in key markets while still maintaining high value global opportunities," FMA said.
In addition to China, the localised partnership opportunities are available in multiple markets and regional blocks including Japan, South Korea, South East Asia and the Middle East.
Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC general secretary, said today: “We are delighted to welcome China Mobile Migu as our partners in China PR. This deal demonstrates the tremendous value and huge appeal of the AFC’s competitions and we thank China Mobile Migu for the confidence they have shown in Asian football.
“We look forward to generating and sharing historic moments with China PR’s football-loving audiences by embracing the best available platforms and technology as the game in Asia moves into a new era.”
Yu Lingxiao, chief executive of Super Sports, and chairman of FMA, added: “The AFC organises the most important football tournaments in Asia. We will continue to promote the partnership between the AFC and China Mobile Migu in areas across broadcasting, event staging and marketing promotion. We will cooperate with the AFC to explore the 5G application and broadcasting technology innovation to bring fans a new experience of watching football live and at home in the future.”
In the previous cycle, 2017 to 2020, AFC rights in China were held by China Sports Media after a $100 million agreement with the now-defunct LeSports was ripped up.
LeSports was the sports arm of the big-spending Chinese technology giant LeEco that encountered financial difficulties.
FMA is busy finalising a number of contracts for the 2021-24 cycle, with the coronavirus pandemic having stalled progress earlier this year.
Other deals secured by in Asia include: Unitel in Mongolia; FPT Telecom in Vietnam; Saran Media International covering Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan; CJ ENM in South Korea; MNC in Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea; and Elta TV in Taiwan.
The AFC is handling the sale of rights in MENA in-house.