British broadcasting giants, Sky Sports, recently announced that they had secured the rights to broadcast the Chinese Super League for the next three seasons. The sum of the new TV deal is unknown but we are undeniably aware of the financial power backing domestic football in China.
Familiar names already play in the CSL. Brazilian forward, Hulk holds the league’s transfer record at £45.7 million, when he moved to Shanghai SIPG earlier this year – with him being rumoured to be earning in excess of £300,000 a week. Other names include former Chelsea midfielder Ramires, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Jackson Martinez.
In my opinion, Asian football has always been on the up, and one of the most powerful countries in the world has finally put money into their domestic football to grow the sport in the far-east. Clubs in China are not afraid to spend mega bucks on their wage bills and the new TV deal can only help the Chinese Super League attract even more big names.
Last year, Sky Sports announced a four-year deal with the MLS, the top-flight division in America, as the company looks to broaden their audience. Premier League stars such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Clint Dempsey all now play in the States – along with Italy’s Andrea Pirlo and Spanish striker David Villa. Perhaps the British audience are keen on keeping an eye on big names, along with the sport in other countries.
Meanwhile there has been a lot of comparisons between Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, with many saying it is just another retirement home for footballers who can’t keep up with the demands of European Football towards the end of their careers.
Continuous money injections in the CSL is only going to make it grow and grow to place it as the biggest league outside of Europe. I think it will never reach the financial powerhouses of Spanish football, and most definitely the Premier League with the TV deal worth £3.2 billion.
However, with these big names making the move to the other side of the globe, everyone is now glancing an eye and the Sky Sports TV deal to broadcast Chinese football in the United Kingdom is making it even more popular. The largest sports broadcaster in China, Ti’ao Dongli, won the rights to televise the top-flight in a deal worth £8 billion last October.