Business / Companies

Wanda invests in FIFA-authorized soccer tournament in Nanning

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-14 07:49

Wanda invests in FIFA-authorized soccer tournament in Nanning

Wang Jianlin (C), Chairman of China's Wanda Group walks off the stage with other ceremony guests after ceremonies to mark a signing ceremony and press conference for the 'China Cup' international football tournament, at the Sofitel Hotel in Beijing, July 13 2016.[Photo/IC]

Chinese property giant Dalian Wanda Group has stepped closer to realizing its ambition to boost the level and industry value of Chinese soccer by launching a new FIFA-authorized tournament in China.

Four months after joining hands with world soccer governing body FIFA as a top-tier sponsor, Wanda announced on Wednesday that it has earned approval from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation to host the inaugural China Cup International Football Championship in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, from Jan 9 to 16, 2017.

Team China and three other first-class national teams, which haven't been identified, will play a round robin tournament with FIFA global ranking points on offer, Wanda said.

"We hope to provide a platform for the Chinese national team to improve through drills against world powers and thus contribute to the game's rise in China," said Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda.

China's national squad will contend for a spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The conglomerate's sports subsidiary, Wanda Sports Holdings, owns the intellectual property rights of the tournament, which will be developed into an eight-team marquee event in the future, with profit potential in media rights sales, ticketing and merchandizing campaigns.

Tan Jianxiang, a sports sociology expert with South China Normal University, said that by bringing these sports events to its doorsteps, Wanda will enhance the value of its commercial property.

"A tournament at home will serve as an anchor for event organizers and rights holders to run marketing campaigns. Revenues could be generated in areas including broadcasting, game-day consumption and sponsorship as well as ticketing," said Tan.

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