Southampton signs new Chinese media entity as main sponsor

English Premier League football club Southampton has announced a record sponsorship deal which will make LD Sports, a new sports content, marketing and entertainment platform for the Chinese market, its main partner.

LD Sports will become Southampton’s new front-of-shirt partner with the contract covering the seasons 2019-20 to 2021-22.

Little is known about LD Sports, but the company will be launching its new site, www.ldsports.uk, later this summer.

As well as the first team, LD Sports’ logo will be displayed on the front of the Under-23s’ and Under-18s’ shirts, along with the various squads’ training wear. Southampton said the club will also help to establish and develop the company’s brand and presence in China.

The deal is representative of Southampton’s growing presence in the country following the arrival of Gao Jisheng as majority shareholder in August 2017.

Southampton’s commercial director, David Thomas, said: “It’s an exciting challenge, and we are looking forward to using our growing credentials and awareness in China, as well as our content and digital marketing expertise, to help the brand achieve its business objectives over the next three years.”

Justin Tan, business development manager at LD Sports, added: “It is an exciting development for LD Sports, which will help us make a significant impact with our launch this summer and also provide us with a platform from which to grow and engage our fanbase across the world.”

The deal comes after UK telco Virgin Media last week dropped its front-of-shirt asset at Southampton, retaining only the shirt sleeve rights in its latest renewal.

The brand was the club’s main shirt sponsor for three years from 2016-17 to 2018-19. It added the shirt sleeve asset in the 2019-18 season.

Under the new deal, Virgin Media will remain the sleeve sponsor of the men’s first team shirt for the next three seasons, from 2019-20 to 2021-22. It will also appear on the sleeve of Southampton’s U18 and U23 men’s sides.

Virgin Media will also become the first ever shirt sponsor of Southampton’s women’s team from the start of next season.