LFP strengthens China ties with Trophée des Champions
The LFP, the French professional soccer league, is continuing its charm offensive with China, today announcing a six-year deal with the Kaisa Culture Sports and Tourism Group to develop awareness of the top-tier Ligue 1 in that market.
The contract calls for three editions of the Trophée des Champions, Ligue 1's annual season-opening match, to be played in Shenzhen, in both 2018 and 2019 and once more between 2020 and 2023.
It was already known that the 2018 Trophée des Champions, between the French league and cup winners, will be played on 4 August at the 60,000-seater Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center, which is operated by Kaisa, a real estate developer in China.
Kaisa has strong experience in major events, having worked across tennis' ATP and the WTA Shenzhen Open, basketball's NBA China Games and the International Champions Cup, the pre-season soccer tournament.
The LFP said Kaisa will organise a series of promotional events in Shenzhen in the days leading up to the next two Trophées des Champions, while over the course of the next six years a number of Ligue 1-branded events will take place throughout China.
The partnership was brokered by the Lagardère Sports agency.
Nathalie Boy de la Tour, president of the LFP, said: "International development, particularly in China, is one of the priorities of our strategic plan... This new collaboration with Kaisa Culture Sports & Tourism Group is another example of our willingness to promote French professional football in a key region for its development."
Just this week, Ligue 1 and BeIN Sports, the international pay-TV broadcaster that sells its rights worldwide, announced a long-term deal with CCTV-5, the sports channel of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
CCTV-5 is to show some matches in the remainder of the current campaign and has committed to televising the league until the end of the 2020-21 season. The agreement included CCTV-5's commitment to showing the 2018 Trophée des Champions live.
The LFP has undertaken a major commercial push in China since opening an office in Beijing a year ago.
The league switched last month’s Nice-Paris Saint-Germain clash to 1pm (CET) so that it could be seen by a peak-time audience in the world’s most populous nation.
The match was shown live by Tencent and PPTV, the digital platforms, and broadcast live or slightly delayed by four regional channels (Beijing TV, Guangzhou TV, Shanghai TV and Guangdong TV), attracting a total of 1.6 million viewers, 16 times higher than the average for a Ligue 1 match.
The 2017 Trophée des Champions was played in Tangiers, Morocco, marking the fourth time that Africa had staged the Ligue 1 curtain raiser, after Tunis (Tunisia) in 2010, Tangiers in 2011 and Libreville (Gabon) in 2013.
The 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions were played, respectively, in Beijing (China), Montreal (Canada) and Klagenfurt (Austria).