Guangzhou Evergrande have struck a 100 million RMB (12 million Euro) sponsorship deal with car manufacturer Dongfeng Nissan shirt for the 2014 season, according to a detailed report on Chinese website 163.com (Netease).
The deal will see Evergrande bear the name of Nissan subsidiary Venucia on the front of their shirts, a brand launched in 2010 selling a range of cars especially for the Chinese domestic market.
Evergrande will reportedly receive 80 million RMB (9.6 million Euro) up front in cash, with the remainder to arrive later in the one-year deal between the two parties. For football outside of Europe, it is a groundbreaking development.
Wild East Football published a report last month on the club’s plans to sell the shirt advertising space, having used the position to advertise their own brand of spring water towards the end of last season. That success led to reports that they could potentially earn more from the sponsorship than Premier League giants Chelsea.
They may not have outstripped the Blues, yet the deal performs admirably in comparison with the Premier League—football’s dominant financial force. According to Sporting Intelligence figures, only six English clubs currently earn more than £10 million each year from shirt sponsorship.
The move is just one of many that Evergrande are making towards long-term sustainability and dominance in the Asian market.
Per Netease, the club have already secured a 20 million RMB deal (2.4 million Euro) with a Shampoo brand also endorsed by Cristiano Ronaldo, while electronics company Midea are also reported to have struck a 5 million RMB (600k Euro) deal with the club.
Furthermore, one of the Chinese Super League’s sports equipment sponsors (presumably Nike, although the report is vague) are said to have agreed a 30 million RMB (3.6 million Euro) deal for the coming season.
In total, Netease estimate that Evergrande’s earnings from sponsorships next season could top 200 million RMB (24 million Euro).
While the club may not be close to breaking even yet, the figures represent a major development for Chinese football’s long-term future.
Evergrande’s investment has been criticised by many as “bad for the game” in China and it could still prove to have been so. However, the club is currently at the forefront of the league’s development as a professional entity and should be praised for their work in that regard.
With increasing pulling power off the pitch, alongside the footballing capture of Italian international forward Alessandro Diamanti earlier this week, the Cantonese club are fast becoming a true superpower of Asian football.