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FC Barcelona and IMG have begun a strategic partnership whereby the multinational sports management firm will exclusively represent the commercial interests of the Club in China. The agreement covers marketing and branding strategy, sponsorships, friendlies and travel.
This agreement strengthens the Club’s presence in the Chinese market, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The Club already has an office for the Asia–Pacific market based in Hong Kong.
In addition to the Club’s Chinese website, FC Barcelona currently has a strong presence in China via the country’s three biggest social networks: WeChat, Tencent and Sina Weibo. Furthermore, last June the Club and Chinese electronics retailer Suning signed an official sponsorship agreement by which the chain, the largest in China, became the Club’s first official Chinese sponsor.
As a global leader in sports, entertainment and media management, IMG came to China in 1979. Since then, IMG has managed more than 3,000 football, basketball, golf, tennis, fashion and other sporting, cultural and lifestyle events in China. In 2008 IMG formed IMG-CCTV along with China Central Television, the largest television network in the world with a daily reach to more than 1.3 billion people.
IMG also has a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Chinese Football Association Super League (CSL). This broad partnership includes development of the CSL, improving the management of Chinese football clubs, and advising on the development of global athletic and entertainment programs and event sponsorships. Both IMG and CCTV-IMG have managed, both past and present, several top sports events in China, including, among others, golf’s BMW Asian Open and the Reignwood LPGA Classic, the Shenzen Open and China Open in tennis, or the China Touring Car Championship (CTCC).
Ignacio Mestre, CEO of FC Barcelona
"We are impressed by the work IMG has done in developing football in China. It is the perfect partner for a strategic relationship. China is a very important country for us to connect with our fans and continue to be successful, and it is imperative that we work with a company that understands the Chinese market and has a history of success."
Robbie Henchman, SVP, Head of IMG Asia Pacific
"FC Barcelona is an iconic football club with a rich history that reaches around the football world. We are very excited at the idea of working with the Club in China."
"Our unique experience in China will allow the Club to develop its interests in various areas and strengthen FC Barcelona’s already strong presence in a country that we know very well. We have been at the forefront of the growing football industry in China, especially through our work to cultivate and develop the Chinese Super League (CSL) as a strategic partner of La Liga.”
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