China’s withdrawal as host of the AFC 2023 Asian Cup has jeopardised some of the Asian Football Confederation‘s (AFC) most important sponsorship rights agreements in the 2021-24 cycle, presumably leaving the system with a huge revenue shortfall.
The owner of Football Marketing Asia (FMA), AFC’s exclusive commercial rights agent, Wuhan Dangdai Mingcheng Culture and Sports (DDMC), has alerted the Shanghai stock exchange of a possible impact on its business as a result of the tournament’s relocation.
The 2023 Asian Cup was supposed to be a linchpin for AFC earnings in the 2021-24 cycle, with Chinese companies strongly making an investment in media and sponsorship rights. Major contracts have been inked with telco China Mobile and dairy products firm, Yili, with several more expected in the run-up to the tournament.
Other AFC sponsors, such as Continental, see China as an important market as well. The tyre manufacturer agreed to a significant increase in the value of its prior AFC deal, owing largely to the Asian Cup being held in China.
FMA is selling AFC commercial rights for the 2021-24 and 2025-28 cycles throughout most markets around the world, including China.
The statement said, “Since [DDMC’s] holding subsidiary Football Marketing Asia Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “FMA”) owns the exclusive global commercial rights (including sponsorship rights and copyrights) of all relevant AFC events from 2021 to 2028, the relocation of the 2023 Asian Cup will have a great impact on the operation of FMA.”
The AFC and FMA can still make money from the 2023 Asian Cup because several sponsorship slots are still available. Potential candidates include Japan, Korea, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, all of which are lucrative markets. Nevertheless, future sponsorship sales attempts will be hampered by the limited time available to negotiate deals.