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DDMC Fortis spells out goals after AFC rights coup

The Asian Football Confederation’s new commercial rights partners have stated their intention to tap into the growing Chinese market, as well as the sport’s presence in Asia as a whole, to transform the governing body’s competitions into “truly world-class” properties.

The AFC yesterday (Monday) entered into an agreement said to be worth more than $4bn (€3.34bn) 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 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 DDMC Fortis entity is being created specifically to handle the AFC rights and will seek to deliver modern tailored solutions for content, sponsorship and other commercial rights that meet the needs of a dynamic and evolving market.

With a strong focus on the fans, there will be renewed investment in brand building and marketing with the aim of building interest, engagement and therefore value across the AFC’s competitions.

Rentao Yi, chairman of Wuhan DDMC Culture Co, said: “This is the first time that a Chinese enterprise has secured a comprehensive commercial mandate for a prestigious global football property.

“We believe that the joint venture with Fortis Sports AG will be highly beneficial to both partners in delivering the very best service and results to the AFC. Based partly on the booming Chinese sports market, our cooperation with the AFC will help the AFC take Asian football to the next level and kick-off a golden decade of growth.”

Patrick Murphy, board member of Fortis Sports, added: “In terms of population and economic might, Asia is a global powerhouse. Football is the number one sport in the region and the passion of Asia’s football fans is unquestioned.

“The potential to elevate the AFC’s competitions is clear, and DDMC Fortis is proud to be entrusted by the AFC to help it achieve that potential. Our sole focus as an organisation is to help the AFC build its competitions into truly world-class properties, for the benefit of all stakeholders and all fans of Asian football.”