The Rise and Rise of the Chinese Super League; A Footballing Force

The Chinese Super League has taken its place on the world football stage, though not under the spotlight, it’s rise in popularity and size elicits that it’ll be a force to be reckoned with in years to come.

Unless you’ve been in a cave over the last few years, you’ll know that football in China has been a project that has been heavily invested in. The Chinese Super League was founded in 2004, and is still very young in age compared to the leagues such as the Premier League and Bundesliga, but has already made the headlines in more than one occasion. Whether it was the match-fixing scandals or the big name signings over the last 12 months, the Chinese Super League has found itself as a topic of conversation across the world.

It’s been the Chinese government who have pioneered the idea to put Chinese football on the map, by investing heavily with the goal to create “a domestic sports economy worth $850bn by 2025”, along with the future plans to host and win the World Cup.

But since the Chinese Super League made its presence felt on our news screens for its big money spending, sadly the Chinese National team is still yet to make an impact on the world stage. Needless to stay, the CSL has made an impact in China, and has seemingly “captured the hearts of the Chinese population”. No doubt due to big name players from European leagues, making transfers to the emerging league; players such as Ramires, Graziano Pellé, Gervinho, Demba Ba and Ezequiel Lavezzi have all made headlines by signing for Chinese clubs.

Chinese Super League Teams
Credit: Nike

But where has the money come from? Ping An Insurance sponsorship amounts to approximately £15 million per season, which compared to the Premier League’s £120 million deal with Barclays back in 2012, is minute; but considering the CSL had no sponsors in its first 2 years, it’s testament to the steady growth of the league.

Domestically, the Chinese league has been a success, with more people wanting to see some of the best talents from around the world in the Chinese Super League. But to be a truly successful league, the CSL needs a global following, and with the likes of David Beckham being a Football Ambassador for China there’s no doubt, it’s only going to grow.

David Beckham Chinese Super League Ambassador
Credit: Dafabetsports

TV rights soared from £6.2 million in 2015 to an astonishing £800m paid by Ti’ao Dongli, a sports broadcasting company in China and more recently in July 2016, Sky Sports announced that they have secured the rights to show the Chinese Super League for the next 3 seasons. Sky Sports has long been showing the World’s top football and includes the like of the Premier League, La Liga, and the Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Combined, Sky Sports could hold the key for the Chinese Super League to grow, not only in popularity but also in stature. As worldwide coverage of the league begins, an increase of sponsors will no doubt play a part in the future of the league.

While the jury is still out in regards to the future success of the Chinese Super League, after landing the deal with Sky Sports, more global brands will look towards the Chinese Super League as possible ventures of sponsorship, which will in-turn assist the league’s progressive growth.

Feature Image Credit: mtmuruma