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Guoan looking to sell club naming rights

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.


Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused 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 blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.



  1. GZBiffo

    26/10/2012 at 11:45

    But I thought Kanoute was a big name aging veteran?

  2. shanghai ultra

    26/10/2012 at 17:41

    It’s not a part of modern football in the UK…

    • Yiddo Huayi

      27/10/2012 at 03:37

      *cough* MK Dons *cough*

      For the UK historically the most obvious example is the South London team which has gone through several name changes:

      Royal Ars***l
      Woolwich Ars***l
      Woolwich Wanderers
      F******g C**ts

      And there is a less well-known example of an East London club:

      Racist Cockneys FC
      Bunch of Tw#ts FC

      • shanghai ultra

        27/10/2012 at 10:39

        My point Yiddo is UK footall team names are not allowed to be changed include a sponsor. Besides Arsenal have been called Arsenal since 1914. Moving MK Dons is a different issue to name-changing, moving teams in the UK is extremely rare, in MK Dons case it caused death-threats and calls to make rules against it.

        • Yiddo Huayi

          27/10/2012 at 20:05

          For a while I might have been supporting Stratford Hotspur (or not).

          Fortunately it didn’t happen. But there will be a new club in 2014: West Leyton Stratford Ham Orient United playing.

          I suppose renaming a club with a sponsor’s name is part of the modern business model for football. Money is always needed. Just wonder how far a club will go to prostitute itself – at some point it will affect the fan base….surely?

        • bcheng

          28/10/2012 at 20:01

          I get what you’re saying, but 1. football in the UK isn’t in its infancy like it is in China and if you were to look back at when it was, it went through these issues (though that has nothing to do with modern football), but more so 2. I’m not just talking about the naming issue but the way in which advertising generally has taken over every aspect of modern football.

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