Barcelona sign exclusive deal with Taiping Life

Spanish footballing giants FC Barcelona have agreed a multi-year deal with Chinese insurance provider Taiping Life.

The partnership will run until the 2022/2023 and it will grant Taiping Life access to the many LED boards that run around the Nou Camp during fixtures.

Some of the most notable matches include an upcoming showdown against La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid in late April and the ‘Derbi Barceloni’ against Espanyol in May.

However, these matches pale in comparison to some of the UEFA Champions League fixtures that will potentially take place over the coming months.

Barcelona are scheduled to face Italian side Napoli at the Nou Camp on the 19th of March and assuming Barcelona win the two-leg tie, more matches will be held at the near 100,000 capacity behemoth of a stadium.

Barcelona are no strangers to the Chinese market. As a matter of fact, they are currently leading the way for clubs across the globes when it comes to China.

As reported in January of this year, Barcelona are in fact the most popular side in the Chinese online market.

Barcelona’s Asia-Pacific Director Toni Claveria had this to say, “China is an important market for Barcelona.’

‘The cooperation with Taiping Life Insurance further strengthened our commitment to the Chinese market and will also help the club strengthen its connection with Chinese fans and further expand the number of fans.”

Cheng Yonghong, CEO of Taiping Life also said this, “Barça and Taiping both have a rich brand history, and Barça is one of the most successful and popular football clubs worldwide. Barça’s brand promotion successfully reaches every corner around the globe and has a huge fanbase in China.’

‘This partnership will further enhance Taiping’s brand awareness internationally and ability to deliver unique customer service experience.”

Taiping Life customers will be offered the opportunity to visit the Nou Camp, meet former players as well as many other benefits.

Barcelona’s ability to connect with fans across the globe has always been one of their strongest assets off the field. Both the Catalan giants and fierce Spanish rivals Real Madrid have dominated La Liga for what seems like an eternity, as well as the UEFA Champions League.

There is certainly a lot of coverage out here in Australia and it should come as no surprise that there is a lot of coverage in China as well.

The Chinese league has grown exponentially in the last few years, with more and more superstars moving out there to play for clubs such as Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Sinobo Guoan F.C.

Some of the biggest players in the Chinese Super League include former Chelsea star Oscar, former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho, Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic who only recently moved to China from English giants West Ham United, Italian winger Stephan El Shaarawy, former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik and former Manchester United player Marouane Fellaini.

Many of these players move East in the latter stages of their careers. Fellaini, Hamsik and Paulinho are all examples of that.

However, there are some who, put simply, chase the money and sacrifice the chance to play in Europe in the hopes of setting themselves and their families up after they retire well down the line.

Regardless, it’s a smart move on Barcelona’s behalf to make this deal, which will improve their standing and continuous development in China.

The club arguably needed to make some more positive waves after the debacle that has been the signing of Danish striker Martin Braithwaite.

Braithwaite was only signed as injury cover for French attacker Ousmane Dembele. La Liga granted the Catalans the ability to sign someone, an agreement which didn’t go down well with many fans, despite the club being restricted to signing someone from the domestic league only.

Braithwaite was signed from cellar dwellers Leganes, who as a result of Braithwaite departing, will probably end up in the Second Division for the first time since the 2015/16 season.

So this Taiping Life deal has come at just the right time for Barcelona.

It’s a win-win deal and one can only assume that the game of soccer will only grow from here in China. This is something that all fans can agree on. So hopefully for the Spanish powerhouse, the news of this deal with Taiping Life will get them back in the good books of some.

What are your thoughts on this deal between Barcelona and Taiping Life? Let us know on Twitter @Soccersceneau and get involved in the discussion. Also, feel free to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more news just like this.

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program a key investment in Western Australia

Western Australia events are receiving significant support through the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24.

The WA State Government has invested over $630,000 to a host of sporting bodies across a vast number of codes.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • build capacity and capability of the sport and recreation workforce and volunteers to plan, secure and/or deliver quality sport and active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for talented WA athletes, coaches and officials to participate at a national and/or international level in their home environment
  • provide opportunities for the public to participate in sport and/or active recreation events
  • provide opportunities for regional Western Australians to experience and conduct major sporting events and sport development initiatives in a regional location.

The program comprises three categories:

  • event projects (up to $15,000)
  • event hosting (up to $50,000)
  • the Country Sport Enrichment Scheme (up to $30,000).

In Round 1 of the Sport and Recreation Events Funding Program 2023-24, one of the successful applicants was Football West, who ran 2024 Goldfields Regional Festival of Football – a seven-day community engagement event that improved football capacity in the wider Goldfields area. After receiving $24,200, Football West’s main goal is to increase participation in the region.

There is still time to apply for the next round of funding, which closes 5:00pm on February 26, 2024.

For full information and eligibility to apply, you can find it here.

WSL eyeing enormous 150% increase to broadcast rights deal

In a historic first for football in the UK, every single Women’s Super League match is set to be broadcasted live from next season across multiple channels.

The WSL tender document issued to broadcasters this month features all 132 league games, with 56 to be sold exclusively and the remaining 76 available on a non-exclusive basis.

Under the terms of the existing deal that expires at the end of the current season, Sky broadcast 35 matches-a-season and the BBC 22, with the rest streamed for free on the FA’s website.

The tender document is asking for a huge £20 million ($38.48 million) a year TV deal and this 150% increase to the value of its broadcasting deal is far from surprising following the explosion of the women’s game. This figure is set to be confirmed as soon as they can find the right suitors.

In an attempt to gain an increase from the existing £7.75 million ($14.91 million) a year deal, the WSL have responded by making every match available for broadcast, which the league hoped would attract bids from beyond current rights holders Sky Sports and the BBC, It looks to be working.

Sky Sports and the BBC are set to bid again on the rights and extend the current partnership whilst it is said that this potential deal is also attracting networks like TNT Sports and DAZN.

The Premier League and EFL have stood firm on the UEFA blackout that suggests all 3pm Saturday matches are not shown on TV, to encourage locals to attend matches in person. This means the WSL will have to work around it and it is likely that Saturday lunchtime and Sunday afternoons remain as the most common kick-off times.

There is little the WSL are having to do to persuade broadcasters into putting their hands up for these rights, which is a testament to the sport’s current growth and upward trajectory it is trending towards.

FA Director of Women’s football, Kelly Simmons, explained how important it was to secure this monumental broadcast deal.

“While we’ve been developing this it’s been so hard to sit on it because it’s so exciting for the women’s game. It is transformational,” Simmons said in an interview with Guardian Sport.

“When I first came into this role, we said that we really thought women’s football could really break into the mainstream and this is mainstream, this is prime slots on television, big audiences, week in week out.”

This deal in particular launches women’s football into the mainstream and helps improve the quality of the product which goes a long way to opening the eyes of a huge audience to its impact as a sport and socially.

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