Dalian Wanda Group on Wednesday signed a partnership deal with the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM), in the latest move by the Chinese conglomerate to expand its global sports business.
Under the deal, Wanda will hold three WMM races in the Asia-Pacific region in the next ten years, including an event in China.
The Abbott World Marathon Majors presently consist of six of the world’s most well-known marathon races, including the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon.
A WMM China race may be inaugurated within three years, Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin said in Beijing after a signing ceremony with the top marathon race organizer, Reuters reports.
“This is the right moment for a world marathon to come to China,” said Wang, who is China’s richest man.
The Marathon Singapore, an annual international marathon race operated by Wanda Sports subsidiary World Triathlon Corp (WTC), is likely to be a candidate for one of the events.
Wanda has helped lead China’s push into organized sports and sports marketing, as the government advances its goal of turning the sector into a 5 trillion yuan business by 2025.
Over the last two years, Wanda has sealed a series of high-profile sports investments, including buying WTC, the US owner of the popular Ironman Triathlon franchise, and taking a 20 percent stake in Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid, Reuters noted.
Wanda last year also became a top sponsor of soccer’s global governing body FIFA and said it will organize the first China Cup from 2017.
In other initiatives, it inked a partnership with international basketball’s governing body FIBA.
The group has said that it plans to create at least 10 major international sports events in China before 2020.
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