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August 9, 2009

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Soccer kicks in as Expo backer

THE World Expo Shanghai logo and its mascot "Haibao" will appear on billboards behind goals at Chinese Super League soccer matches for the rest of this season and all next season.

The high-profile exposure is linked to a deal signed yesterday in Shanghai by the top-tier professional league organizer and Expo.

More than 60 million people across the country are expected to see the "Better City, Better Life" Expo Shanghai logo while watching matches on TV or at the stadiums.

The Chinese Football Association will use all its resources to promote Expo and hoped to introduce Chinese football to the world via Expo, said Nan Yong, deputy chairman of the association.

Unlike many European leagues, the CSL starts in February-March and ends at November-December every year. There are 16 teams in the current season which Shandong Luneng won last year.

Twenty-six domestic TV stations carry live broadcasts of league games.

About 58 million viewers watched the first 16 rounds of games of the 2009 season on TV while about 20,000 people on average attended a match.

Also yesterday, the country's leading bakery chain, Christina Food, signed up to be the cake and bread provider for Expo.

The company that was founded in Shanghai in 1992 by T. A. Lo, one of the city's most prominent Taiwanese merchants, will open a dozen outlets on the Expo site.

The company will develop a series of healthy and nutritious bakery items especially for the event, Lo said.


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