Catalyst Media Group, Relevant Sports today announced the line-up and match schedule for 2017 International Champions Cup in China (ICC China). AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, FC Bayern, Arsenal FC, and FC Internazionale will clash in four contests in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen & Nanjing in this July. It’s the 3rd consecutive year the world’s leading pre-season football tournament to take place in China.
Clash of the champions
ICC China provides premium football experience for Chinese football & sports lovers and a platform for European super clubs to connect with their fans in China.
At an event attended by over 150 guests and media in Shanghai today, ICC China celebrated the announcement of another set of world-class match-ups in the world’s most populous nation, with a theme linked to Chinese martial arts history. In a famous Chinese martial-art story, the very best Kung Fu masters gathered around Mount Hua each year to compete and test each-others skills. Similarly, ICC China has become an annual show-case of the world’s best football talent, from top European football clubs that are admired among Chinese football fans.
In its 3rd year, ICC China has welcomed its strongest ever line-up in 2017.
FC Bayern & Dortmund represent the top level in Bundesliga – which was named the most influential foreign league on Chinese social media in 2016. Dortmund, 8-times German champion and one of the most in-form sides in Europe currently (recently qualified for the Champions League Quarter-Finals) are not only famous for their on-field results, but their incredibly passionate fans. Indeed, one of the highlights of last year’s ICC China was the noise and color of thousands of Dortmund fans in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Their famous ‘yellow’ fans are now set to flood Guangzhou, for the first clash of ICC China 2017 against one of Europe’s most successful clubs of all-times, AC Milan.
As one the most successful and most popular football clubs in the world, FC Bayern need little introduction. Boasting a quad of globally renowned super stars year after year, the five times winner of the UEFA Champions League will be out to impress their huge Chinese fan base. Bayern has been crowned by Mailman Group’s highly respected ‘Red Card Report’ as the ‘Most Engaged’ foreign football club on Chinese social media in 2015 and 2016. The FC Bayern Audi Football Summit show in China this summer will open with a blockbuster clash against Arsenal on Jul 19th in Shanghai, and then play against AC Milan on Jul 22nd in Shenzhen. Between them, FC Bayern and AC Milan hold 44 domestic league titles and 12 UEFA Champions League titles.
Arsenal, one of England’s most successful clubs both past and present will make its ICC debut in China, home to one of its largest fan bases worldwide. The match against FC Bayern in Shanghai will be the ‘Gunners’ first in China.
To conclude ICC China 2017, Chinese fans will witness the 291th Milan derby in Nanjing on Jul 24th. The Milan clubs are known to have two of the biggest fan bases in China, thanks to their long-standing engagement in China and impressive trophy list. This year there will be added pressure around this always-heated fixture, as it will be the first time for Inter to play in China since the arrival of the new owner – Nanjing-based Suning Group.
On behalf of each club, Franco Baresi, Lars Ricken, Hasan Salihamidzic, Gilberto Silva and Walter Zenga pulled individually crafted swords from a stone to announce the official launch of ICC China 2017.
The International Champions Cup (ICC) brings together top-tier European clubs every year since 2013, and provides premium & passionate football experience for local fans.
Patrick Murphy, Chairman and President of Catalyst Media Group said, “Since we brought ICC to China two years ago, we have achieved 91% brand awareness amongst Chinese football fans, attracted over 100 million TV viewers and our social media reach doubled year-on-year to 79 million. The ICC has truly revolutionized the pre-season touring experience for players, fans and commercial partners. We are now well established in China, so 2017 we aim to bring evolution in key areas.”
Having partnered with many great global and domestic brands in its first two years, ICC China confirmed the first wave of key partners for 2017.
Shenzhen-based Kaisa Culture Group joins the ICC “family” as “Strategic Match Promoter”, responsible for the management, promotion, sale and distribution of tickets to all four matches.
Premium global car brand Audi, who is a key partner of many world’s top clubs (including FC Bayern), joins as Presenting Partner for Shanghai and Shenzhen. This partnership comes after Audi was the Presenting Partner of ICC Australia in 2015 and 2016
In addition, Premium Partner Neo Online announced the charity partnership with an activation theme focusing on kids with passion in sports and life. With the concept of “Making the World Bigger for Kids”, Neo Online committed itself to working closely with ICC China and directing many of its partnership rights towards providing special experiences to kids living in poverty-stricken area.
Finally, Der Floor were announced as the second Premium Partner, joined by Official Sponsors Emirates and Wuciyuan Herbal Products. Catalyst confirmed it expects to have a number of additional partners, both local and global brands, in the coming months.
ICC China 2017 planned Match Schedule
18th July 2017 in Guangzhou
AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund
19th July 2017 in Shanghai
FC Bayern Munich vs Arsenal Football Club
22nd July 2017 in Shenzhen
FC Bayern Munich vs AC Milan
24th July 2017 in Nanjing
FC Internazionale vs AC Milan
(ICC Press Release)