Saturday, April 22, 2006

Germany building quiet footballing links to China

Is the German Football Federation and the Bundesliga preparing for a major promotion to Asia during the World Cup year? Or did China's failure to qualify dampen the enthusiasm?

With German football's high profile on Chinese television and its leading football club Bayern Munich voted the eighth most popular foreign club in China, is there any concern about the gap in foreign broadcast revenues earned by the English Premiership and the Bundesliga -- and the rapid increase in high-level contacts being made in China by other competitions?

The question is asked as international marketing company Infront Sports & Media expands its China commitment from its strategic marketing partnership with the China Super League to exclusive global marketing partner for the Chinese men's and women's national football teams until the end of 2010.

Infront has big responsibilities with the FIFA World Cup being played in Germany this year. These include distribution of television rights, supervision of the Host Broadcast and broadcaster servicing.

Importantly, the German Football Federation is also a major client of Infront based on a working relationship that dates back more than 20 years. Infront's role includes the advertising and marketing rights of the DFB National team.

Since China failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, there has been little news from one very targeted German funding initiative, the German-Chinese Football Academy (DCFA) in Bad Kissingen, Bavaria. Eckhard Krautzun was appointed Technical Director of the DCFA and coach of the Chinese U-20 team with the aim of producing a winning Chinese team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Chinese U-20 team was eliminated before the quarter finals from the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands in June 2005 but in early February this year Sinosoc reported that Krautzun was interested in resuming as coach of the team and that the DCFA had pledged 1.68 million euro to continue funding the program.

See also: Infront becomes exclusive marketer of Team China (7 Apr)

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