Badminton could be the next sport to get a global corporate makeover after it was announced that China's richest man had agreed a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the sport's international governing body.
Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group has signed an eight-year exclusive partnership with the Badminton World Federation (BWF) that gives exclusive global sponsorship and media rights to its subsidiary Infront Sports & Media.
Wang is keen to develop the group's sports business and said that the group was "determined to be a global leader" and the deal – whose exact financial details were not disclosed – also includes the commercial rights to four international tournaments.
"We have a shared interest in developing the sport for the benefit of growing revenue and exposure," said BWF secretary general Thomas Lund, who added that the deal would be worth hundreds of millions over eight years.
Badminton's popularity in China has rocketed in recent years with nearly 20 provinces boasting professional teams and tens of thousands of amateurs competing in the annual amateur national championships.
Read more: China’s Dalian Wanda to buy Infront for €1bn
China's expansion into the sports businesses has been rapid over recent years and Wanda has spearheaded much of this – it has signed 10 contracts with different sports organisations.
The group owns the triathlon Ironman brand as well as a 20 per cent stake in Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid. It has strong ties to football's governing body, Fifa, plans to organise football's first China Cup in 2017 and also is the exclusive marketing partner of basketball's global body Fiba.