IMG and Carlsberg in sponsorship deal with Chinese Super League

Louise Duffy | 04-04-2013

IMG Worldwide has entered into a new partnership agreement with Carlsberg China, making Carlsberg the exclusive beer partner of the Chinese Super League (CSL), China’s top-flight football league for the next three years.

Carlsberg will promote the CSL and English Premier League – two of the most watched sports leagues in China – jointly in its marketing efforts. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Stephen Maher, CEO of Carlsberg China, said: “As the most commercial and most watched sports league in China, CSL is the crown jewel of Chinese sports. As a leading brewer in the world, Carlsberg has a long history of sponsoring sporting events, especially football. This new partnership will leverage the two partners’ experience and resources and improve the quality of the league, bringing the fans higher quality football and entertainment.”
Zhu Qilin, general manager of CSL Co, said: “The CSL needs the support of its commercial partners to take the league to a new level. This new partnership will see Carlsberg bring to the CSL its rich experience in working with other football leagues and help build the league and increase its quality and influence.”
“We are very excited that, as part of this deal, Carlsberg will promote the CSL throughout China in conjunction with the EPL,” said Adam Zhu, vice chairman of IMG Asia Pacific and chairman and president of IMG Greater China. “This new sponsorship agreement will help us build the brand and cache of the CSL. We have pledged that as the strategic partner of the CSL, IMG will spare no effort in promoting the CSL and Chinese football."
Last year the CSL returned to CCTV 5 and witnessed a 90% growth in total viewership. In Season 2013, CCTV 5 will increase the number of CSL games it will show. With David Beckham serving as special ambassador, the CSL is pushing for greater exposure both domestically and internationally.