The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Chinese brewery Tsingtao.
Tsingtao, the second largest brewer in China, has become the first Chinese company to support the continental governing body in a commercial capacity.
The beer brand has signed up to support AFC-organised club competitions – most significantly the AFC Champions League, which was won this year by Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Other tournaments Tsingtao will back include the AFC Cup, the AFC President’s Cup, and the AFC Futsal Club Championship.
Although no financial details have been released, SportsPro sources suggest the deal is worth around US$2.5 million annually.
The deal, which was brokered by AFC marketing partner World Sport Group, will kick in from the beginning of 2014.
“I believe Tsingtao beer’s global brand influence can, through intensive promotional activities, promote the AFC Champions League internationally,” said Wang Ruiyong, Tsingtao’s vice president and marketing president.
“We chose to sponsor AFC because they have the best football matches. We also recognise Guangzhou’s success in the AFC Champions League and celebrate this.”
The second leg of Guangzhou’s AFC Champions League final against FC Seoul drew an average audience of 23.68 million on China’s CCTV-5 channel.
Tsingtao is sold in 62 countries around the world and accounts for 50 per cent of China’s beer exports.