Brewer Tsingtao has become the first Chinese sponsor of the Asian Football Confederation, the governing body for soccer in the continent, on the back of the country’s breakthrough victory in this year’s elite AFC Champions League.
Tsingtao has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the AFC’s club programme from the start of 2014 in what is described as "a historic milestone" for the confederation.
The brewery will support the AFC Champions League, Asia’s top clubs competition, plus the second-tier AFC Cup, the AFC President’s Cup, which involves clubs from developing soccer nations, and the AFC Futsal Club Championship.
Tsingtao was encouraged by Guangzhou Evergrande’s achievement in becoming the first Chinese club to win the AFC Champions League. The second leg of the final against FC Seoul was watched by 30 million viewers in China, making it the most-watched sporting event in the country in the past 12 months.
AFC general secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay said: "We are delighted to welcome Tsingtao to the Asian football family as they become the latest elite brand to join our group of highly valued commercial partners.
"The professionalism and exposure of our club competitions have been improving year-on-year and there is a lot to be gained by being associated with the club game in Asia."
Wang Ruiyong, Tsingtao Brewery vice-president and marketing president, added: "I believe Tsingtao beer’s global brand influence can, through intensive promotional activities, promote the AFC Champions League internationally.
"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."
Nick Mould, president, East Asia, at World Sport Group, the international sports agency which is the exclusive marketing partner of the AFC, said: "This is a historic milestone for the AFC and its commercial partners, and we are all very excited.
"Guangzhou’s success in the AFC Champions League led to record TV viewing figures and a total attendance figure totalling over 110,000 across both legs of the final and it is important to build on this to ensure significant value for our commercial partners."