The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has signed a wide-ranging partnership with video entertainment company China Mobile Migu that will deliver 5G experiences for fans across the region.

The deal, which will cover the 2021 to 2024 rights cycle, was brokered by Super Sports Media and Football Marketing Asia (FMA), the exclusive commercial partner of AFC competitions.

China Mobile Migu becomes the first-ever official regional partner of AFC national team competitions in China. The company will also provide extensive coverage of all major national team and club competitions, including qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2023 Asian Cup in China and the AFC Champions League.

The new regional partnership tier has been introduced by FMA and the AFC as part of plans to diversify and deepen localised partnership impact for brands in key markets while maintaining “high value” global opportunities.

As well as China, the localised partnership opportunities will be available in other markets and regional blocks such as Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Dato’ Windsor John, AFC general secretary, said: “This deal demonstrates the tremendous value and huge appeal of the AFC’s competitions and we thank China Mobile Migu for the confidence they have shown in Asian football.

“We look forward to generating and sharing historic moments with China PR’s football-loving audiences by embracing the best available platforms and technology as the game in Asia moves into a new era.”

Yu Lingxiao, chief executive of Super Sports and chairman of FMA, added: “We will continue to promote the partnership between the AFC and China Mobile Migu in areas across broadcasting, event staging and marketing promotion. We will cooperate with the AFC to explore the 5G application and broadcasting technology innovation to bring fans a new experience of watching football live and at home in the future.”

China will host the 2023 Asian Cup across 10 cities. Last month, the new Beijing Workers’ Stadium (pictured in its old guise) was confirmed as the main venue for the tournament, with design plans for nine stadia having been approved by the AFC.

China Mobile Migu’s deal with the AFC strengthens the company’s sports presence after it partnered with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) earlier in the year. The five-year deal will lead to the delivery of 5G smart arenas and also includes exclusive IPTV rights, non-exclusive streaming rights and a sponsorship package.

In other news, the Asean Football Federation (AFF), which organises competitions in the Southeast Asia region, has pushed back its inaugural Club Championship to 2022.

The tournament had initially been due to take place this year but was postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic. However, next year’s packed schedule, which will include FIFA World Cup qualifiers, AFC competitions and the AFF Suzuki Cup, has forced the AFF to further delay the event until 2022.

The AFF Club Championship will feature 12 clubs from each national league in the region. It will offer cash prizes to all participating teams, with the winning club to receive more than $500,000 (£375,000/€419,000).

AFF president Major General Khiev Sameth said: “The ACC is a key pillar of our regional development strategy, and we’ve agreed that a move to 2022 is the right decision at this stage. As we begin to regroup, it became clear that having to launch the ACC in a much-reduced format, within what we know will be a heavily congested season, would not be in the best interests of the event or our members.”

Image: Football Marketing Asia