AFC signs major deal with DDMC Sports, Fortis

The Asian Football Confederation has today (Monday) entered into an agreement with the DDMC Sports International division of Chinese sports and entertainment company Wuhan DDMC Culture Co, and the Fortis Sports agency, for its commercial rights for the period spanning 2021 to 2028.

The deal was announced following an AFC Executive Committee meeting held in Moscow ahead of the start of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia on Thursday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Associated Press news agency said the contract will be worth more than $4bn (€3.34bn).

The contract went to a second round of bidding, with offers due on April 26 following an initial round that closed on March 29. The AFC tender covered near-global media and global marketing rights to all AFC competitions. Media rights in the Middle East and North Africa were separated out and will be sold separately.

The Lagardère Sports agency is the incumbent rights-holder in an eight-year deal, from 2013 to 2020. The deal covers global media and marketing rights, including the Mena region.

AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said today: “We are delighted to have recommended the offer from the company that submitted such a compelling bid and now the AFC administration has been mandated to complete the contract as soon as possible.

“The new rights agreement will now secure the financial future of our member associations as well as help the AFC further enhance our competitions and development programmes.

“The successful conclusion to a process, which has lasted for more than 15 months, will mean that the AFC and the Asian football family can now contemplate a bright and prosperous future.

“But at the same time, we must be aware of the need to continue to evolve and develop both on and off the field to make sure that we use the new financial power wisely and effectively.”