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White paper flags rise of Chinese Super League football

White paper flags rise of Chinese Super League football
March 27, 2019

A newly published white paper on the Chinese Super League’s commercial performance, Chinese Football Association Super League - 2018 Commercial Performance Review White paper, shows the commercial value of the top Chinese professional football league in 2018 while also providing an overviews of the last 14 seasons of the competition.

The white paper was jointly compiled by Deloitte Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Industry, Deloitte Financial Advisory and CSL, with the project having started in September 2018.

According to the white paper, the Chinese Super League has witnessed some very positive and significant growth during the 15 seasons of its history in area such as overall revenue, sponsorship and media rights fees and the brand image of the league.

The white paper shows that the total revenue of CSL in 2018 reached CNY1.593 billion (US$237 million), growing from CNY600 million (US$89 million) in 2006. The average attendance per game in 2018 was 24,000, more than double that of the 2004 season’s 11,000 per game.

In 2018, the total sponsorship revenue was CNY465 million (US$69 million) from 11 different partners. The total sponsorship fee has seen a 31.6% growth compared with the 2006 season.

In media broadcasts and viewership, CSL plays a significant role in the Chinese market and among Chinese fans as a Chinese domestic football property, reaching more broadcasts hours and higher TV viewership ratings than most of the overseas football leagues.

In 2017 broadcasts of CSL games accounted for 11% of all broadcasts of football, followed by UEFA Champions League (10%), Bundesliga (7%), AFC Champions League (5%) and other football tournaments (68%). The TV ratings were ranked second place (0.33), followed by AFC Champions League (0.60), English Premier League (0.10), Bundesliga (0.07) and others.

The white paper also showed that new and digital media (51% of the accumulated viewers) have surpassed traditional media (49% of the accumulated viewers) as the most dominant way CSL is watched.

In terms of the fans, the typical CSL fans are males between the ages of 30-39 years-old mostly married with children, with an undergraduate or above education background and with an annual income ranging between CNY100,000 to CNY300,000 (US$15,000 to US$45,000).

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