Eight-year AFC deal for DDMC and Fortis

Consortium gets commercial and broadcast rights for all competitions from 2021 to 2028

HONG KONG • Asian football's governing body announced yesterday that it will sign an eight-year commercial rights deal with DDMC Sports International and Fortis, as the Chinese company extends its influence into the regional sports marketing arena.

The announcement comes after the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) executive committee met in Moscow to consider bids for commercial and broadcast rights from 2021 to 2028, concluding a tender process that opened last November.

"The new rights agreement will now secure the financial future of our member associations as well as help the AFC further enhance our competitions and development programmes," said AFC president Shaikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa in a statement.

"The successful conclusion to a process, which has lasted for more than 15 months, will mean that the AFC and the Asian football family can now contemplate a bright and prosperous future. But, at the same time, we must be aware of the need to continue to evolve and develop both on and off the field to make sure that we use the new financial power wisely and effectively."

The deal covers the broadcast and commercial rights for all of the AFC's competitions, including the Asian Champions League and the quadrennial Asian Cup as well as Asia's final round of qualifying for the World Cup. The value of the deal was undisclosed.

The decision means the AFC will end its relationship with existing partner Lagardere Sports and Entertainment at the start of 2021, ending an association that began in 1993. DDMC partnered Swiss company Fortis for the AFC tender and has been assertive in the domestic market in China.

Earlier this year, DDMC bought the domestic broadcast rights for Spanish football from the start of the 2017 season until 2022 while they also paid US$500 million (S$667 million) to purchase Super Sports Media, which holds the Chinese rights for the English Premier League.

DDMC subsidiary Desports is the parent company of Spanish football club Granada and Italian Serie A side Parma, as well as Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan.

It is the latest Chinese company to make waves internationally after the Wanda Group bought a controlling stake in Switzerland-based Infront in 2015.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2018, with the headline 'Eight-year AFC deal for DDMC and Fortis'. Print Edition | Subscribe