The 2014 Chinese Super League will bear the name of a new sponsor in the form of Ping’an Group, after a four-year deal worth 150 million RMB (18 million Euros) per season was agreed with the insurance company.
According to a Sina report on Tuesday morning, the deal is set to be officially announced on 21 February in a press conference at Beijing’s Workers Stadium. With the previous deal with real estate group Wanda valued at just 65 million RMB per year (7.8 million Euros), the news represents another major step in the right direction for professional football in China.
The new deal, while still awaiting official confirmation, has already been ratified by all the league’s shareholders. Per Sina, the league will now officially be known as the China Ping’an Super League, or by the short name Ping’an CSL (ping’an zhongchao).
Per Wantchinatimes.com, sport business consultant Yang Yan told Shanghai newspaper First Financial Daily that the deal should prove profitable for the company. Yang notes: “At this time, anyone that becomes a sponsor of CSL will see their money well-spent, since the football business will gain momentum in the long-term.”
The website’s report also states that the league’s revenue doubled to 370 million RMB (44.4 million Euros) in 2013 from the previous year, with the football industry beginning to bounce back strongly from the struggles of the last decade—aided by the high profile success of champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Ping’an have previous connections with football in China, having owned a club in Shenzhen between 1997 and 2002 besides making previous attempts to sponsor the competition in recent years.
It is reported that their current interest in backing the league financially is related to plans to open a football lottery in China. The reports, though, have been officially denied.