Chinese investors are paying $400 million for a stake in the group that owns soccer clubs including England's Manchester City and New York City FC. As Sonia Legg reports, it's the country's biggest overseas investment in the game.
Not a bad selfie for Manchester City's striker Sergio Aguero It was taken during a visit to the team's stadium in October, more evidence perhaps that soccer is now pretty big in China too. President Xi Jinping is an avid fan - choosing to tour the club during a recent visit to Britain. Just weeks later a consortium led by China Media Capital has announced it's paying $400 million for a 13 percent stake in City Football Group which owns Manchester City and New York City FC. Justin Urquhart-Stewart is from Seven Investment Management. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "The strength of these brands - these European brands and particularly the Premier League overall is huge. You only have to look at what's happened to Manchester United, what's happened to Liverpool, not just in China but the whole of Asia." Middle-East Investment from Sheikh Mansour has transformed the fortunes of Manchester City since 2008. The club won the English Premier League in 2012 and 2014. And there's plenty of other foreign investment in the sport in Britain. City's rivals - Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal - are all American owned, while Russian Roman Abramovich controls Chelsea. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "China - I suspect there will be other ones as well - will be looking to adopt some of these other clubs as well so watch out you'll find in due course that part of the season will be played in China." China Media Capital says soccer is already the country's most watched sport And the value of television rights is part of the attraction - so too is the prospect of raising playing standards. President Xi hopes to host the World Cup one day and make his underperforming national team more competitive.