Monday, January 16, 2017

The Chinese Super League Revolution

The signing of Argentinian forward Carlos Tevez by Chinese football club Shanghai Shenhua made him the highest paid footballer on the planet, earning him an eye popping--mouthwatering, US$ 808,000 a week.

Still think the Red Dragon is a pretender in world club football?
Despite their foreign players policy rule restricting 5 foreign players per team, there’s no doubt China is opening a new frontier in the economics of world soccer.
The domestic rights for the 2016 season were sold for 1 billion pounds, 20 times more than the previous deal. Sky Sports (in July 2016) secured the television rights of the CSL for the next 3 seasons.

The masterplan
President Xi Jinping’s master plan is to build 50,000 football academies in 10 years, renovate 6,000 stadiums, and have 50million footballers by 2020. Private football academies are already booming with foreign coaches. Football is officially compulsory in the Chinese national curricullum. Jinping is intent on doubling China’s sporting economy into a US$ 800 billion sports economy by 2025.

Record breaking fees
After appointing Luiz Filipe Scolari as manager, Guangzhou Evergrande continued its appetite for high value acquisitions when in Feb 2016 they signed Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid for a then Asian club record fee of 31 million pounds. Shanghai SIPG’s signing of ex-Chelsea midfielder Oscar for 60 million pounds broke the Asian transfer record fee for the sixth time in 2016. 

Chinese investments in Europe
The 2015 visit to Manchester City by President Xi was the ultimate state endorsement for Chinese investors seeking to buy English clubs. City later received 400 million pounds from state-backed China Media Capital Holdings and CITIC Capital. Other notable British clubs under Chinese ownership are Aston Villa, Wolverthampton Wanderers, and West Bromwich Albion. In Italy, AC Milan, and their rivals Inter are officially under “new Chinese management”.

Massive state backing, private investments, and a growing appetite from Chinese consumers, is obviously increasing optimism in the future of Chinese football revolution. Will the Chinese soccer revolution materialise?

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