Nike Official Sponsor of the Chinese Soccer League

Hi everyone,
Nike set to sponsor the CSL (Chinese Soccer League) for supposedly a 15 million dollar deal a year for the next 10 years. According to the Beijing Times, the deal will provide 12 league teams 732,000 dollars each in equipment and apparel and 220,000 dollars in cash for the 2009 season, remaining funds would go to the league. Nike takes ownership of a fast growing football market.

An extended agreement calls for a 15 percent annual increase, with the apparel contract to eventually cover all 16 league teams, according to the Beijing Times. Nike could be providing 30 million dollars a year by 2018, with the cumulative sponsorship fee reaching 200 million dollars over 10 years.

While adidas sponsors the Major League Soccer from A to Z, Nike applies a similar monopolistic scenario with the Chinese Soccer League. China, one of the fastest growing economy and football market is a smart bet from the Swoosh. This market situation also offers a strong platform for Nike teams for their summer tours, and an opportunity to help the League grow the sport.

Some examples of the CSL Nike kits; (courtesy

Shandong Luneng Taishan (山东鲁能)

They are current league champions and pretty much breezed to the title last season with a 13 point gap between then and the next nearest team. The name ‘Luneng’ actually belongs to their principle sponsor, an electricity supplier from the Shandong Region.

At home the team wear orange kits in quite a boxy design, the straightness of the white mesh on the side is where I believe the problem lies. If you take a look at last seasons kits, you’ll probably agree it’s a step back, or at least not fitting for the champions.

Shanghai Shenhua (上海申花) 

Probably the the best supported team in China and one team whose name isn’t a company name, although it once was. Shenhua are yet to capture the Super League title but have been runners-up on a few occasions as well as a 3rd placed finish last season, they were however the last champions of the league’s previous incarnation, the Jia A.

Their kits are some of the most unique in the league this time around and kind of echo what we saw from Nike in Japan with Sanfrecce Hiroshima. The design of the kits are quite traditional, folded collars, and bars of colour on the shoulders, it is jazzed up with the use of some funky patterns for both the home (blue) and away (black).

Karl Lusbec