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Barcelona signs new Chinese partner

Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has entered into a partnership with Chinese pharmaceuticals company Yunnan Baiyao.

The deal runs for the next three seasons and names Yunnan Baiyao as a Regional Partner of the club in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Barcelona said it marks the first time it has been associated with a sponsor in the region “with an eye to a different type of relationship than a commercial one”.

Following the agreement, the Barça Academy project will have three new venues located in Yunnan Province, with branches to be set up in Lijiang, Kunming and Fuxian Lake. It will bring the total number of worldwide Barça Academy schools to 49, 18 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region. China becomes the country in the region with the most sports training centres, with six.

The new schools will be managed by Yunnan Investment Sports and Yuxi Fuxian Lake Protection Development and Investment Co., Ltd.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.