On Wednesday, Beijing Guoan hosted an investment promotion business event at a venue next to Worker’s Stadium. The invitation only event was an odd mix of media, players, businessmen, and supporters.
The event itself was severely lacking in the major news category, unless you consider the singing exploits of Xu Liang, Xu Yunlong, and Darko Matic as newsworthy. What was newsworthy is that Guoan’s management is seeking investors to come in and put their money into the team. While CITIC has no plans to put the team up for sale, they are looking to bring new money into the club.
The big story is that Guoan and CITIC is once again willing to put the naming rights of the team and the jersey advertisements up for sale and its not going to come cheap. The club is looking for a complete package that will cost around RMB2 billion for whoever wants to put their name on the club. This is not the first time they’ve sold the team naming rights, previously Hyndai purchased them from 2003 to 2006. However, unlike with the Hyndai agreement, Guoan’s front office has insisted that the Guoan name will not go away, with the complete club name to be “Beijing Guoan XXX Football Club”.
It will run you RMB1 billion to be the named sponsor of the club, with the front of the jersey ad going for RMB50 million, the back of the jersey ad going for RMB40 million, and the sleeve ad only costing RMB10 million.
While there may be some complaints from traditionalists, this is just a part of modern football and in China, where team names are strictly connected to the owners at the time, this comes as no surprise. It is good news that through the years the naming rights are sold, the Guoan name will still be attached to the team, even if it may not be what is used all the time by the media. It will be interesting to see if this move will lead CITIC to finally loosen up the purse strings and bring some big name aging veteran to the capital.
WEF is greatly honoured to have aboard B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese bloggersphere.
Cheng has been the other lonely soul blogging in English about Chinese football over the last few years. With both Cheng and WEF’s editor linking back and forth to each others’ sites on a regular basis, it was probably inevitable that they would eventually join forces to try to illuminate and decipher the curious world of Chinese football, with their combined musings.
Cheng’s credentials are second to none – his blog focuses not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese bloggersphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. Cheng very generously decided to climb aboard and give WEF his views on the issue of the Chinese footballing day.