Real Madrid and Barcelona now appear to be closer than ever before to playing regular La Liga games in China – but just how soon could that become a reality, what obstacles still lie in the way and what sort of impact would that have on global sport?
Following the most recent Chinese takeover of a European club, Part 1 took a look at what Southampton fans can expect from their new owner. Part 2, below, will analyze what the latest policy moves from Beijing mean for the future of Chinese investment in football – and why future deals may or may not happen.
A second division Spanish club taking a small stake in a third division Chinese club won’t make global headlines, but it could see the start of a wave of foreign investment in Chinese football, now that outbound acquisitions have effectively been stopped.
A year ago, Chinese companies were rushing full steam ahead to invest in – or buy outright – soccer clubs from around the world. From Aston Villa and West Brom to Espanyol and Inter Milan, the first waves of investment appeared to herald many more deals. This headline in The Telegraph from September last year, for instance, claimed that another 30 Chinese billionaires were looking to buy clubs.
How quickly things change.
Chinese football added another two major clubs to the country’s portfolio, as the government-backed soccer drive shows no sign of slowing down.
With the sporting world’s attention zeroing in on the Rio Olympics, China’s football industry – as has been the case repeatedly this year – stole back the spotlight. West Brom became the first English Premier League club to be acquired by a mainland Chinese owner. Then, just hours later, AC Milan joined the club as a Chinese consortium took full ownership from Silvio Berlusconi, following the lead of its cross-town rival Inter two months ago. Here are five thoughts on the day’s dealings: Continue reading West Brom, AC Milan added to China’s trophy cabinet
AC Milan is the latest in a long line of European football targets picked out by Chinese investors – and it won’t be the last.
On the football pitch, the Italians are known for a slow, tactical style that, while effective, can bore an opponent into submission.
Off the pitch, it may also be a similar story.
Stories started to spread on Monday that Chinese home appliance chain Suning was set to buy a stake in Spanish megaclub Barcelona. If true, it would have blown news of Alibaba buying a 50% stake in Guangzhou Evergrande out of the water.
Despite effectively being blocked from doing anything of consequence in the US, Chinese telecoms group Huawei has been continuing its expansion plans in Europe and elsewhere, thanks in part to an increasingly successful soft power campaign that has seen the firm partner up with a variety of sports properties. In the last year alone, Huawei signed deals with: Continue reading PSG becomes Huawei’s jewel in the crown
It’s almost becoming its own feature at this point: who has Huawei sponsored this week? This year the company has signed sponsorship deals with the ITU World Triathlon Grand Finale in London, German soccer team Borussia Dortmund, NZ soccer team Wellington Phoenix, and Australian rugby league side Canberra Raiders. Then there was a China-New Zealand soccer match, the 2011 Italian Super Cup in Beijing, plus Atletico Madrid in last year’s Madrid derby, and that’s before we get on to Huawei’s recent musical tie-ups with Coldplay and, er, the Jonas Brothers.