The International Canoe Federation (ICF) governing body has signed three two-year partnership agreements with Chinese companies covering sponsorship, licensing, and broadcasting.

An agreement with sports equipment manufacturer Nantong Tieren Sports Goods consists of a sponsorship payment and the supply of equipment. Half of the equipment supplied will be the company’s “Ironman” ergometer machines, which the ICF believes will play an important role in the growth of its virtual events.

State media company China Media Group, meanwhile, has secured broadcast rights to all ICF events in Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines, including world championships and Olympic qualifying events. These will be transmitted online and on television.

The ICF already has a free-to-air broadcast agreement in China until the end of 2024 with Huya, the major livestreaming platform, signed in 2022.

The final deal is a partnership with Hangzhou Kayford Branding Company, allowing the sports licensing firm to produce and market apparel, souvenirs, and other merchandise. It has previously worked with FIFA and UEFA and will provide the ICF with a pro rata amount of the turnover generated.

ICF president Thomas Konietzko said: “The deals cover important issues for us as an international sport as we look to solidify our reputation as a global sport. We will increase our broadcast footprint in one of the biggest markets on the planet, and we have an exciting merchandise licensing package and will be able to finance new ICF projects from the additional revenues.

“Our partnership with Ironman gives us access to not only world-class products but also a financial arrangement which will help grow development of our sport. We welcome all three of our partners to the international canoeing family, and look forward to working with them to build our brand in China.”