Argentina's trip to China is really chaotic: Messi is invited with a lot of money, but the broadcast is undecided, the sponsorship is naked, and the ticket is chaotic

Author: Yang Zhonghua

Number of characters: 2930

Recommended reading time: 9 minutes

Argentina's trip to China is really chaotic: Messi is invited with a lot of money, but the broadcast is undecided, the sponsorship is naked, and the ticket is chaotic

The news that Messi led the Argentine national team to play in China has become the focus of attention from all walks of life this summer.

Argentina's Asian itinerary has been confirmed – they will play a warm-up match against Australia at the Beijing Workers' Stadium on June 15, making Argentina's first overseas appearance since winning the World Cup. On the 19th, they will move to Jakarta to play against Indonesia.

The previously rumored plan of "national football against Argentina" failed to come true for various reasons, which made many Chinese fans feel somewhat regretful. However, everyone's enthusiasm has not diminished in the slightest, and after the official announcement of the Argentine national team and the organizer, the post still received thousands of likes and comments from fans.

However, the preparation process of this feast exposed many "chaos", from the initial rumors to the final official announcement, the Argentine team's Asian tour has undergone many changes and adjustments, in addition to many problems and uncertainties in the ticket sales, investment and broadcast of the event.

Chaos 1: The broadcast rights of the event are undecided

Argentina's matchup against Australia is set to begin in three weeks' time, but the media rights to the high-profile event are still pending, and so far no news has been announced by major TV stations and online platforms.

Argentina's trip to China is really chaotic: Messi is invited with a lot of money, but the broadcast is undecided, the sponsorship is naked, and the ticket is chaotic

According to Sports Economic Watch learned from a person familiar with the matter, the media rights of the match between Argentina and Australia are still under negotiation, and the jury is still out. The person familiar with the matter said that the organizer initially planned to conduct online live broadcast through CCTV, and adopted a pay-to-demand method. However, the Argentine Football Association pays more attention to the revenue of TV broadcasting, and in the investment promotion plan exposed before, the logo of the broadcaster is CCTV, not the TV station, which is obviously inconsistent with the requirements of the Argentine Football Association.

The person familiar with the matter also revealed that because the price of domestic media rights has been very low, CCTV has an advantage in the negotiations, not only asking for media copyrights, but also wanting to participate in the business cooperation of the event, which is one of the reasons for the deadlock in negotiations between the two sides.

Based on past experience, most commercial tournaments held in China start with contracts with participating teams, pay high appearance fees, and then generate revenue through the commercial operation of the event to make up for the previous investment. It is reported that in addition to sharing tickets, broadcasts and commercial income from the Arab Football Association, the organizers of this Argentine tournament in China will also give the world champion team at least $5 million in appearance fees.

Obviously, in the face of televised difficulties in reaching consensus, the organizers are facing great economic pressure. Some potential sponsors may lose interest because they don't have enough exposure channels, and it's not easy for organizers to break even.

Chaos 2: Official ticketing information has not been released

In addition, the official ticketing channels for the Argentine and Australian competitions are not clear enough.

Argentina's trip to China is really chaotic: Messi is invited with a lot of money, but the broadcast is undecided, the sponsorship is naked, and the ticket is chaotic

The ticket sales information that fans have been waiting for has not been announced, and some scalpers have already sold "advance tickets" at high prices on various platforms, and even have "photo with Messi" packages, with a price of at least 50,000 yuan. This is obviously a kind of interference and sabotage of regular ticketing, misleading some uninformed fans, but the official failed to respond in time.

It was not until May 23 that China's Hongqiao International Investment Co., Ltd., which operates the Argentine team's match in China, officially issued a statement saying that tickets for the event had not yet been officially launched for sale, nor had it authorized any third-party platform to conduct pre-sales, and called on fans to pay attention to the company's official ticket announcement.

But the fans are obviously a little impatient, and all kinds of rumors have left a lot of imagination space for the melon-eating masses, and there were even rumors on the Internet that the game was suspected of canceling, putting the organizer on the cusp again. Amid skepticism, the organizers had to issue another official statement the next day, promising that the ticket information would be officially announced next week.

It is not difficult to understand the anxious mood of the fans, "According to the rules of the competition, tickets should be started 45 days in advance. Now there are no fares, no ticket reservations. Although it has been officially announced, there is still a feeling of 'the old king next door sings - no score'. On Weibo, some sports media people commented.

Judging from the commercial events held in China in the past, it is not without temporary changes. In the 2016 International Champions Cup China, Manchester United and Manchester City derby, originally scheduled to be played in the Bird's Nest, were suddenly cancelled before the match, causing a large number of fans to be dissatisfied; In 2019, the "Allianz China Cup" friendly match between the national football team and Bayern was also postponed.

Chaos three: sponsorship is on the verge of "running naked"

In addition to ticketing, the investment of Argentina's competition in China this summer is still in a pending state.

Sports Economic Watch learned from the investment promotion plan that the sponsorship plan of this invitational tournament has four levels, in order of high and low, they are "Chief Sponsor Diamond (1 seat)", "Official Partner Diamond Gold (no more than 5 seats)", "Official Sponsorship Silver" and "Official Supplier Bronze", and the event operator guarantees that Messi will play at least 45 minutes when attracting investment. However, at present, in the official publicity, there are no sponsor logos, and there are many institutions on the market that claim to be the exclusive investment promotion agents of the Argentine China Tour.

The commercial value of the Argentine national team and Messi is unquestionable. Last year's Qatar World Cup, the Argentine team can be said to be favored by thousands of Chinese brands, and eight domestic brands signed with it, making the Argentine national team the team that signed the most sponsors in China since the previous World Cup.

The symbol of Messi has long been closely associated with the Argentine team, and winning the Hercules Cup has further soared his popularity. During last year's World Cup, just 5 seconds after Argentina won the title, its triumphant Samsung commemorative T-shirt was sold out on Two consecutive emergency replenishments, the products were sold out within 1 minute of being on the shelves.

For any powerful company, it is hard to imagine that they would ignore such a high-topic marketing opportunity. It is understood that as of press time, only one alcohol brand has become a sponsor of this invitational competition. A person in contact with the tournament operator told Sports Economic Watch that the feedback from sponsors was still very positive when Messi came to China, and the investment was "not a problem" and the cost was "much higher than expected".

However, in view of the intense preparations for Argentina's competition in China, as well as the current unclear status quo of investment promotion, it is inevitable that many people in the industry can't help but question: Does the event operator still have time to attract investment?

Chaos 4: The organizers are inexperienced

In addition, China Hongqiao International Investment Co., Ltd., the operator of the Argentine men's football team in China, also showed inexperience and unprofessionalism in terms of investment promotion and publicity.

From the start, Argentina's Asian trip was fraught with uncertainty and uncertainty. In this process, the biggest variable is whether the Chinese men's football team will play against the World Cup winning team. But inexplicably, Hongqiao International has never formally communicated with the Chinese Football Association about this.

A person familiar with the matter revealed that Hongqiao International is a foreign-related enterprise, not a professional sports event company, so it is not familiar with the experience and process of hosting competitions, and is not very clear about the approval procedures and operation methods of foreign-related sports competitions. However, in order to win the arrangement of the men's football team by the General Administration of Sports and the Chinese Football Association, Hongqiao International decided to increase the momentum first.

At the end of March, a letter of request for "request for coordination of friendly matches between the Chinese national football team and the Argentine national team" suddenly went viral on the Internet. The organizer, China Hongqiao International Investment Co., Ltd., said it had asked the Chinese Football Association to coordinate the friendly match between the national football team and the Argentine national team, which sparked heated discussions among the media and fans.

Naturally, this letter of request was not officially replied and confirmed by the Chinese Football Association. According to a report by Ma Dexing, a senior football reporter of Sports Weekly, "Messi will lead the Argentine team to visit China" is completely operated by brokerage companies and middlemen, hoping to create momentum through "plum fans" and "fans" who do not know the truth, and put pressure on the Chinese Football Association and relevant parties.

At the same time, the Chinese Football Association also announced that the opponents of the national football warm-up match will face Myanmar and Palestine on June 16 and 20 respectively, completely ending the topic of "national football vs Messi". It is worth noting that the unit that finally agreed to the Argentine team to come to China was also the Beijing Municipal Football Association, not the Chinese Football Association.

The change and unchanged of commercial football events in the domestic market

For many old domestic fans, they must still be impressed by the grandeur of Real Madrid's visit to China in the summer of 2003. At that time, China had just experienced the "SARS" epidemic, and people urgently needed an opportunity to release pressure.

Argentina's trip to China is really chaotic: Messi is invited with a lot of money, but the broadcast is undecided, the sponsorship is naked, and the ticket is chaotic

So, in the summer, after the epidemic dissipated, a star-studded Real Madrid came to China and set off a football carnival. The arrival of superstars such as David Beckham, Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Robert Carlos and others has driven countless fans crazy. Many people travel thousands of miles to Beijing just to see them.

Now, 20 years later, Argentina's trip to China has caused a similar sensation. The influence of Messi and the World Cup winner has rekindled the enthusiasm of long-dormant fans. Among them, superstars are undeniably important promoters.

It is worth mentioning that this year will also be Messi's second time on Chinese soil after six years, the last time was in the summer of 2017. For the Argentine team, which has a huge fan base in China, in the window of no major matches in June, the Argentine Football Association will make its summer warm-up debut in China, in addition to the opportunity to train from these commercial events, as well as bring considerable income, but also give back to sponsors and fans, and win more popularity and future development markets for themselves.

In the past ten years, commercial football events have gone through a long and undulating path in the domestic market from the beginning to the heating up and then to the blowout development before the epidemic.

The Argentine national team's competition in China not only ignited the enthusiasm of the Chinese football market for three years, but also provided an opportunity for the industry to review the operation of domestic commercial events.

It is foreseeable that the Chinese market is still an important strategic position for major teams, and I believe that Argentina's arrival this summer is just the beginning.

The picture in this article comes from Xinhua News Agency and the Internet