Nike set to sponsor China Super league


Nike is in talks with China's beleaguered Super League over a potential 200 million dollar sponsorship deal that could cover the coming decade, state press said Sunday.

Nike has basically agreed to a 15 million dollar deal that will provide 12 league teams 732,000 US dollars each in equipment and apparel and 220,000 US dollars in cash for the 2009 season, the Beijing Times said.

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Remaining funds would go to the league.

An extended agreement calls for a 15 percent annual increase, with the apparel contract to eventually cover all 16 league teams, it said.

If a final deal is reached, Nike could be providing 30 million dollars a year by 2018, with the cumulative sponsorship fee reaching 200 million dollars over 10 years, it said.

No details were given on when a deal was to be signed, but the 2009 season begins on March 21.

Nike China was unavailable for comment on Sunday.

China's professional league has been beset with problems ranging from corruption to match-fixing that has badly tarnished its image and resulted in low attendance.

League play was so dismal that state broadcaster China Central Television stopped airing matches during the final rounds of 2008 play, but will reportedly resume broadcasting during the upcoming campaign.

Due to illegal gambling, match-fixing and poor play in the inagural season of the Super League in 2004-05, German electronics giant Siemens ended its multi-million dollar title sponsorship of the league the following year.

The league's main backer remains southern China's state-owned beer-maker Kingway Brewery.


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