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DDMC Fortis gets China 2023 boost as it opens AFC sales

China’s hosting of the 2023 Asian football Cup has “significantly increased” the probability of agency DDMC Fortis exceeding its financial targets in selling the commercial rights for the tournament, chief executive Patrick Murphy has told SportBusiness.

DDMC Fortis is selling the global media and sponsorship rights (excluding media rights in the Middle East and North Africa) for Asian Football Confederation national team and club competitions in the 2021 to 2028 period under a landmark deal agreed last year.

The agency on Tuesday officially launched its sales process for the first four-year cycle, 2021 to 2024, to coincide with the award of the 2023 Asian Cup hosting rights at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris.

“Having China as the host nation for 2023 is a huge boost,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t something that was confirmed at the time of the tender process. Our commercial model wasn’t based on having China as the host for the Asian Cup in 2023. So it’s a tremendous bonus that we weren’t expecting…the probability of us hitting and exceeding our targets has significantly increased.”

DDMC Fortis was widely considered to have agreed an aggressive minimum guarantee with the AFC, which is nearly eight times that earned by the AFC in its current deal, with Lagardère Sports.

China was considered a critical market for DDMC in terms of hitting its sales targets, but there were question marks over the scale of the opportunity for increased revenues, particularly from media rights. With the country hosting the 2023 Asian Cup, strong broadcaster and sponsor interest is now assured.

Sales begin

DDMC Fortis will commence sales talks later this month, Murphy said. The agency will be selling the rights for both national team and club competitions in parallel. The aim is to complete the sale of national team rights ahead of the first games of the cycle in September 2020, and the same for club competition rights ahead of their start early in 2021.

The agency’s remit covers media and sponsorship rights for: the Asian Cup, Fifa World Cup Asian qualifiers, the AFC Champions League, the AFC Cup, the AFC Women’s Cup, the AFC men’s and women’s youth championships, and the AFC Futsal Championships.

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