Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League leaders Beijing Guoan wage war on Nike by removing all brand’s merchandise from club shop

As one of the biggest clubs in the country, capital side are opposed to league-wide contract with US sportswear giant

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 1:01pm

As Portugal and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Beijing for his second individual tour, it’s not all good news for sportswear giants Nike in the Chinese capital.

Chinese Super League leaders Beijing Guoan have pulled all Nike merchandise from their store in the city while Nike’s China website no longer shows the club’s gear.

Beijing Guoan are upset with the league-wide deal that sees Nike provide the 16 CSL sides with equipment.

As one of the best supported teams in the country, the 2009 champions believe that they can earn more with an individual rather than shared deal.

The league-wide agreement was renewed in May this year in a “5+5” deal that could run until 2029.

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At the time Sina reported that the new deal is worth a total 3 billion yuan (US$470 million) over the next decade. The clubs are set to share 2.2 billion yuan worth of equipment and 800 million yuan in cash over the decade, double the value of the existing deal which runs until the end of next year.

Nike has been the exclusive kit supplier of the CSL for the last ten years.

Guangzhou newspaper Soccer News posted on Sina Weibo that when the CSL asked the 16 clubs about renewing the deal Beijing Guoan said no, expressing that the even split did not reflect their comparative commercial power.

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Speculation on social media suggested that Guoan would break away from the deal later this year by finding an alternative kit provider.

The removal of the Nike products from the store is the first indication of how serious the club are.

Guoan beat Henan Jianye on Wednesday night to go top of the table for the first time in three seasons. Goals from Cedric Bakambu and Jonathan Soriano guided them to a 2-1 victory at the Workers’ Stadium.