Current FIFA, UEFA, IOC sponsorship agreements worth over US$2.2bn reflect growing dominance of Chinese firms, says GlobalData

  • Combined annual value of FIFA’s Chinese partnerships in 2022 to be US$106m
  • Euro 2020 awash with Chinese partnerships worth US$398m

Chinese firms have emerged as some of the principal sponsors of the sports industry’s marquee events over the past decade, with notable partnerships with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) worth over US$2.2bn in their duration, a significant increase compared to previous four-year cycles, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Patrick Kinch, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “In 2021, it is estimated that UEFA will collect nearly US$400m in sponsorship fees from its Chinese partners (Antchain, Vivo, TikTok, Alipay and Hisense) while the IOC sees Alibaba, Alipay’s parent company, as a TOP sponsor, the IOC’s premium sponsorship category, at this year’s Olympic Games. Only one Chinese brand has previously secured the IOC’s most coveted sponsorship assets, after Lenovo secured a TOP position at China’s home Olympics in 2008.

Mr Kinch adds: “Between 2000 and 2006, no Chinese sponsors were on board with any of these three major properties (FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, European Championships). The combined annual value of FIFA’s Chinese partnerships for 2010 and 2014 competitions was an estimated US$51m, less than half of what it will secure in 2022 at US$106m, with property giant Wanda Group a chief sponsor in a deal worth US$56m annually until 2030.

Similarly, Chinese private interest in the European Championship, UEFA’s leading competition, has exploded. Having only seen two Chinese partners at its last five competitions, Euro 2020 is awash with Chinese branding, with these partnerships estimated to be worth US$398m over their duration. The emergence of these brands as partners to the world’s biggest sporting events, points towards the growing emphasis placed on sport in the world’s most populated country. The growth in China’s lead soccer competition, the Chinese Super League, since its inception in 2004, has coincided with the increase in Chinese ownership of Premier League and European soccer clubs, with Southampton and Wolves now majority owned by Chinese enterprise.

Mr Kinch concludes: “The same can be seen with Italian champions Inter Milan, owned by Chinese holding company, Suning Holding, and Wanda Group owning a 2% stake in Atletico Madrid in Spain, with both Chinese enterprise and government seeing these partnerships as an effective means of improving international commerce, brand awareness, and promoting Chinese business.”

More Media