AFL will make another foray into the Chinese market with Port Adelaide striking a deal to have two games telecast into the world’s most populous country in the coming weeks.
The Power have partnered with China Central Television (CCTV) to broadcast AFL throughout the country.
The deal will see Port home games against Essendon (round three) and then the blockbuster against Geelong (round five) broadcast on CCTV, with the second game being televised live into China.
The move opens up a massive new market to the South Australian club after the waters were tested by the AFL in China in 2010 when Melbourne and Brisbane played an exhibition match in Shanghai.
Demons forward Liam Jurrah kicked five goals as the Demons ran out 12.12 (84) to 11.13 (79) winners.
The deal will also include a 25-part documentary series about the Power, which is funded by the South Australian state government.
Port certainly see the benefits of the ambitious foray into the large market with their general manager for China and government relations Andrew Hunter confident it’s a move in the right direction.
“Given CCTV is controlled by China’s central government the content screened on their network goes through a strict process of approval as it must be deemed reputable and of national interest,” Hunter said.
“For an agreement to be reached to screen AFL content is therefore a massive tick for both Port Adelaide and AFL and it very much legitimises our indigenous game in the eyes of their audience.”
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas sees the deal as a massive opportunity for the game to create inroads into the Asian market.
“This is the first time that AFL will be broadcast on CCTV, the world’s biggest television network, and it could be the moment that we reflect on in twenty years time and say `that’s when China first fell in love with our great game,'” Thomas said.
“We anticipate our weekly documentary show and broadcast games will attract an audience of nearly two million given they’ll be screened in prime time.”