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Billion dollar deal for Asian football

Asian soccer chief Mohamed Bin Hammam signed a $1 billion dollar rights deal with the World Sports Group (WSG) on Tuesday.

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The deal, which dwarfs the total revenue earned by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) between 1992 and 2008, gives Singapore-based sports marketing, event management and media group WSG rights to AFC events up until 2020.

"What has been achieved for this contract is quite tremendous," Bin Hammam told a select group of reporters in the Malaysian capital after the signing.

"From 1992 to 2008 our total revenue from rights was $150m... for everything. Now we talk about eight years with $1 billion ... and this figure will go up, we are sure."

Bin Hammam credited WSG with spotting the potential in Asian soccer. WSG have been commercial partners of the AFC since 1993.

"It is AFC's pleasure to renew our tight relationship with WSG, who were the first ones to recognise the incredible potential of the Asian game.

"They came to support us when our revenues (from rights) were close to zero. We had difficult times where our competitions were worth nothing ... people wanted to pay nothing."

The agreement is expected to deliver "at least" $1bn in revenues to the AFC over the contractual period, WSG said.

"This is a landmark deal and shows what Asian football is capable of achieving."

WSG Chairman Seamus O'Brien, said: "In 1993, we made a commitment together with the AFC to take Asian football to the world.

"Today, in just over a decade and a half, the value of Asian football has grown 10-fold and it has earned its rightful place on the international stage.

"Its events are being watched and followed throughout the world, not just in Asia, by billions of passionate fans and viewers."

Tuesday's deal with the AFC comes a week after WSG partnered with the fledgling OneAsia golf tour.

Financial details of that deal were not made public, but under that multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement WSG are responsible for marketing and managing sponsorships and licensing arrangements for the golf tour.


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