LaLiga has made Chinese mineral water brand NongFu Spring its official drinking water partner in China.
SportBusiness understands the contract will run until the end of the 2021-22 LaLiga season.
Unusually, LaLiga worked on the deal with the aid of its Chinese media-rights partner, online streaming platform iQiyi.
iQiyi’s involvement adds advertising rights to the LaLiga assets in the deal, as LaLiga looks to increase the value of its sponsorship contracts in China by offering a broader rights package to brands.
Sergi Torrents, managing director of LaLiga in China, told SportBusiness: ‘’Our package was initially lacking a little bit in advertising rights, which we can now offer through this alliance with iQiyi.
‘’It’s a complete 360 package, we can offer digital assets, events advertisement rights and rights to La Liga’s intellectual property. It is much more powerful. I believe it is really attractive.
‘’We expect that this will lead to us signing more and better deals than in the past, it is the next step in terms of our development in China.’’
LaLiga usually looks for a minimum of €500,000 per year when striking sponsorship deals in China. But the league hopes the beefed-up rights packages it can sell with iQiyi will push fees into the multi-million Euro range.
Further details of these packages will be announced in the coming months, as the league is in discussion with several other potential Chinese partners.
NongFu is currently a global partner of Fina, the global governing body of aquatic sports, in a four-year deal until 2022. It was also previously a partner for the 2017 China Run Marathon series, the Asian Marathon Championships and the Belt and Road Marathon series.
LaLiga was looking to fill the designation for several months and held discussions with multiple brands. Ultimately, it was China’s largest bottled drinking water company that was chosen.
Another of the league’s regional sponsors in China is Automobile manufacturer DongFeng. Its three-year deal is due to expire at the end of the season. SportBusiness understands that this could be renewed, with discussions currently ongoing.
Airline Iberia’s China-focused agreement is for two seasons, 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Spanish wine brand Marqués del Atrio holds a four-year deal which covers China and Spain and will run until the end of 2020-21.
But SportBusiness understands the deal with interior design brand Roomeye, due to run until 2020-21, has been terminated early.