Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BIG IN CHINA HOW CITY WILL RULE THE EAST ; CITY SPECIALPounds 265m Deal with China Media Capital Clearly Brings Financial Rewards, but Profile in Asia Could Prove to Be Just as Valuable

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BIG IN CHINA HOW CITY WILL RULE THE EAST ; CITY SPECIALPounds 265m Deal with China Media Capital Clearly Brings Financial Rewards, but Profile in Asia Could Prove to Be Just as Valuable

Article excerpt

CITY'S deal with China Media Capital (CMC) could have 'enormous' financial benefits that far outstrip even the initial Pounds 265m investment.

It could see them become the leading football club in East Asia, according to Rob Wilson, a sports economist at Sheffield Hallam University.

CMC paid Pounds 265m for a 13 per cent stake in the City Football Group (CFG) - the holding company that owns City, New York City, Yokohoma F. Marinos and Melbourne City - in December, just a few weeks after China's president Xi Jinping had completed a visit to the Blues' football academy.

Last week the club began offering tours of the Etihad Stadium in Mandarin and they will embark on a summer tour in China, where Pep Guardiola is expected to be unveiled as manager.

And there are now serious suggestions CFG may add a Chinese club to their growing portfolio.

Wilson says the exposure CMC provides will be crucial in aiding the club's growth in what is a largely untapped market.

"The deal struck is absolutely enormous, irrespective of the Pounds 265m it brought in, which I think will directly go towards player acquisitions and wages," Wilson said.

"What doesn't seem to have been picked up on is that CMC have huge exposure in China in terms of TV rights. And that's one market no Premier League club has really got hold of.

"Manchester United have flirted with it a little bit but if you look across Europe, Real Madrid are the only team that can genuinely say, 'we have a strong foothold in China'.

"You're talking about a market of up to a billion people or more.

"Whether it's showing the City games on TV, repeated highlights shows or doing some sort of promotional campaign, the exposure the CFG and the City brand will receive in China will be on a completely different level and will certainly make them the biggest club in that part of the world in the not-too-distant future. …

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