Birmingham City's Latest Deal The First of Many According to AGH Worldwide's Kyri Kyriacou

February 23, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Birmingham City Football Club have announced their 1st partnership deal with a Chinese firm. Xtep sportswear will manufacture Birmingham City match and training kit in a move that provides Birmingham City with a platform to develop their market presence in China. AGH Worldwide's Kyri Kyriacou believes: "If as expected the EPL pursue a free to air rights approach in China we expect to see many more deals like this Xtep agreement as clubs and sponsors find their interests increasingly aligned."

Xtep in their homeland are known for their production of Walt Disney licensed products under the Disney Sport brand and their Koling brand range of sports and street apparel. This agreement with Birmingham City will include pitchside advertising affording the company the opportunity to advertise to the Chinese public during the eight Birmingham City matches that will be shown on state television.

One major surprise from the deal is that Xtep have not pressured Birmingham City to install LED screens which would ensure their messages have more impact and ensure greater brand recall. With Yeung clearly looking to China for new sponsors to create strategic partnerships in the Chinese market, his ability to offer LED pitchside boards would ensure the club offered an improved value proposition to potential sponsors and partners.

The Chinese market has proved difficult for Premier League clubs to monetise with the widespread availability of imitation shirts and peer-to-peer streaming of games proving to be substantial stumbling blocks. These factors have been further entrenched by the backfiring of selling the TV rights to pay channel Win TV which has seen a 1000% drop in viewing figures for the EPL as La Liga and Serie A have been consistently shown free to air over the same period.

It appears that this will be redressed following pressure from big four of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. David Gill speaking in Hong Kong confirmed they would be looking for increased exposure through free to air coverage of EPL matches. For the 2009/10 season Guangdong TV bought rights to one EPL fixture per week alongside a weekly highlights package.

AGH Worldwide's Kyri Kyriacou commenting on the deal stated:
"Clubs have been looking to increase their exposure in China and have realised a few pre-season tours is not enough to engage fans. Strategic partnerships such as this Xtep deal will help clubs build a stronger and more permanent position in the Far East markets."