IMG scores global rights to Chinese Super League

The IMG agency has agreed a two-season deal for the global television rights to the Chinese Super League, the top tier of domestic football in the country.

IMG struck the deal with China Sports Media, the competition’s rights holder. The agreement will cover the 2016 season, which begins tomorrow (Friday) and the 2017 campaign. The deal, which excludes mainland China, also includes the option to extend.

As part of the agreement, IMG will serve as a television production consultant for the CSL. The agency has also secured in-flight rights to the competition.

Michael Mellor, senior vice-president and head of football for IMG Media, said: “The CSL is one of the new hot properties in league football following their recent investment in top players from the main European leagues. There is increased interest in the league which continues to grow in stature each season. We are delighted to be helping them expand international coverage and have already received strong interest in a number of territories including in the UK, Europe, Brazil, the Middle East and Asia.”

CSL clubs have been cast under the spotlight in recent weeks due to their high-profile dealings in the transfer market. Jiangsu Suning was one of the teams to grab the headlines with moves for Brazilian internationals Ramires and Alex Teixeira for a combined fee believed to be in the region of £65m (€84m/$91.4m).

IMG has an existing relationship with the CSL, having provided strategic advice and insight and represented some of the league’s centralised sponsorship packages.