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Ausgold backs Port Adelaide’s Chinese venture

Mining group Ausgold has agreed a deal with Port Adelaide to sponsor the AFL Aussie rules team’s historic game in China next year.

Ausgold will hold match-day sponsorship rights to the game against the Gold Coast Suns, which will take place in Shanghai on May 14. Ausgold also becomes the primary backer of Port Adelaide’s ‘Open to the World’ campaign in 2017.

As part of the agreement, Ausgold will benefit from brand exposure at Port Adelaide’s home games next year.

Ausgold company chief Sally Zou is Chinese herself and enquired about partnering with Port Adelaide after it emerged that the team was considering playing a game in China.

“It’s hard to imagine a person who has mining interests in Australia, who is Chinese herself, would have sought out Port Adelaide for any other reason had we not employed our China strategy,” Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said.

“I think that’s a really strong reinforcement of what we’re trying to do: she heard about us, saw our game, explored Port Adelaide more and then decided she wanted to financially support the club and our push to China.”

Shanghai’s Jiangwan Stadium will be reconfigured to hold 15,000 fans for next year's game, with the AFL set to become the first major sports league to stage a regular season encounter in China.

The game follows on from Port Adelaide’s successful development of a broadcast rights deal with China’s state broadcaster CCTV to showcase the AFL during the 2016 season.