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The RMB200m Chinese Super League rights fees: Would they become the sixth league?

By Labour Daily, translation and editing by Yutang Sports 16 Jul 2015

The China Football Association Super League Corp. recently announced on a general meeting of shareholders that they were going to repackage the rights of Chinese Super League and sell the rights for 200 million RMB at the least, 3 times more than the current prices. 

The current broadcasting rights deals between the CSL and broadcasting parties end in 2016. Therefore, CSL plans to make new packages of the rights and sell for higher prices. The 200 million RMB is the price for a full package. 

In the latest round of purchase, the CSL rights were sold between 70 million and 80 million RMB, which is nothing compared to the 1.7 billion pounds each year for the Premier League rights and the 6 million Euros for La Liga’s rights. 

Moreover, the current 7 million or 8 million RMB rights fees were comprised of several separate purchases: 30m from four major Chinese web sites, 20m from a local TV station, 10m from a rights agency, and 12m from CCTV. Therefore, each of these companies got the rights of a whole season at very cheap prices. 

Given these backgrounds, we can see that the CSL broadcasting rights fees have increased significantly compared with previously. 

Why? Well, this is mainly because of the many famous and expensive football coaches and players that CSL teams bought in this year up to now. 

The trend started with coaches. About one month ago, Guangzhou Evergrande fired Fabio Cannavaro and bought Luiz Felipe Scolari, a Brazilian coach. After that, Jiangsu Sainty made an offer for Korean coach Choi Yong Soo with 5 billion KER for two and a half years. 

On the player side, the teams’ purchases are even more staggering. In the second transfer window that closes on July 16, teams made many expensive purchases. Guangzhou Evergrande bought Brazilian national player José Paulo Bezerra Maciel Júnior; Greenland Shenhua bought Chelsea’s forward Demba Ba; Shanghai SIPG bought Asamoah Gyan, the captain of the Ghana national team. Gyan ranked the eighth in the world among the highest paid football players. 

An interesting fact is that three players, including Demba Ba, are selected by a well-known French magazine as players who frequently change teams to make money. 

As a result of these expensive purchases, it seems that the CSL’s broadcasting rights deserve a rise too, and it indeed has become a reality. 

As to whether the CSL would become the sixth league in the world after the EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1, which seems to be a favorite question of some Chinese industry professionals, the answer is maybe by some. 

The deputy chairman of China Football Association stated during an interview in recent time that he believed in this possibility. 

According to an evaluation and ranking about the first 110 football leagues in the world, made by Daily Mail in last November, Chinese Super League ranked 16th. It may be a long distance from 16th to the No. 1, but some believe that large investments would be useful to achieve the goal. 

However, it is clear that football improvements still needs more commercialization and should never forget that developing football should create benefits for the health of the public. 

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