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Guangzhou Evergrande shirt sponsorship price to outstrip Chelsea’s?

Guangzhou Evergrande are selling their shirt sponsorship rights for 19 million Euro per year – higher than most EPL  clubs including Chelsea’s current 16.7 million Euro deal with Samsung, according to a Chinese media report.

Last season’s  shirt sponsor, Evergrande Spring, an affiliated company of the club’s owners, experienced unprecedented sales of its  mineral water off the back of the club becoming the first Chinese side to win the Asian Champions League in over 20 years.

The appearance in the ACL final made Chinese firms sit up and notice – especially as the second leg attracted record TV viewing figures and was the most watched sporting event on Chinese TV last year.

The team’s follow-up appearance in the World Club Cup against Bayern Munich, in the most high-profile competitive match a Chinese team has ever played in, had advertisers salivating over that precious commercial opportunity of a Chinese football success story.

A Chinese news portal got straight to the point on the development and opined, “Finally we can see the benefit of Evergrande’s massive investment in its Guangzhou team – reminding everyone of the commercial potential of Chinese football.”

Indeed, according to Sina,  a leading Chinese Liquor company is among several bidders for Evergrande’s shirt sponsorship right’s this season, however according to the report, the bidders have a lower price in mind, around 12 million Euro per year.

The final figure would likely be somewhere between this and the 19 million Euro sum Evergrande are looking for and would still put the club above all but six EPL clubs, according to Sporting Intelligence.

In general terms, it is difficult to get reliable or meaningful figures on exactly how much Evergrande have invested in the club since taking over in 2010, such is the nature of the Chinese football financial landscape.

However the prospect of earning EPL level sponsorship money offers evidence that the Evergrande model may not be inherently unsustainable, particularly if the success can be sustained to the point in increasing the profile of the ACL and making it more lucrative for all players on a long-term basis.

UK trained journalist and long-time Chinese football observer Cameron Wilson has been writing about Chinese football for over a decade...

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