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European Magnate Eyes Chinese Sports Market

The Chinese sports market, which will feature 2008 Olympic Games, 2007 Women's Soccer World Cup and the Chinese Soccer Super League (CSL), has become the most attractive virgin land for world's most powerful sports companies, including Infront Sports & Media Group.


Infront Sports & Media Group (Former name as Kirch Sport), headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, shows its intensive interest in the Chinese sports market especially in soccer field. Oscar Frei, Infront's CEO, made a special trip to Beijing to seek the opportunities in the Chinese market.


"We believe the Chinese sports market has huge potentials, or we would not be here. The sport that has the greatest immediate potential is football -- the most popular sport in China, as in the rest of the world -- followed by basketball," he said.


A recent Zenith Media telephone survey conducted among China's 15-45 year olds, found that the public's interest in sport has silently spread beyond national boundaries. Almost three-quarters of this aged population would prefer to attend an event that was international in scope.


John Kristick, Infront's Marketing Manager, said: "The Chinese sports market has huge potential because of the population and the fact that China contributes huge numbers of the television viewers to international events, which makes China important to sponsors."


"We will be looking forward to the development of new markets in China, offering specialized services to events throughout the world and selling expertise based on proven achievement. For example, advice on host broadcast and commercial structuring of sports," Kristick added.


Infront, launched officially under its new name in January, represents many premium sports including the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the German Football Bundesliga, IHF World Championships in ice hockey, as well as European Handball Championships.


Frei also pointed out that Front would like to help in any way as they can, in terms of finding sponsors for women's football and the Chinese national team or promoting the sport through television.


"Obviously, China has a potentially world-beating women's team and this makes the proposition an exciting one," he said.


Frei and Kristick attended the CSL commercial promotion conference, which attracts representatives from 94 foreign companies here on Tuesday. Replacing the First Division League, the 12-team CSL will kick off from next year.


"We now are familiar with the marketing strategy of CSL and will work out a marketing plan in the near future," said Sports Marketing Manager Jimmy Qin from Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd..


(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2003)



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