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The Australian Football League (AFL) has signed Chinese television broadcast arrangements with select matches and weekly highlights to be broadcast on free-to-air channels.

Each week during the 2018 season, Guangzhou TV will broadcast one match, a weekly highlights show, as well as the finals series, including the grand final, all in local language.

Shanghai TV and Shandong TV will also join Guangzhou TV to broadcast the Round 9 match - Gold Coast Suns v Port Adelaide Football Club – which will be played in Shanghai, as part of a strategy to bolster interest in the game among Chinese sports fans.

Travis Auld, general manager of clubs and broadcasting at the AFL, said the deal confirmed the sporting league’s commitment to growing the game in China.  

“It’s pleasing to confirm we have expanded the AFL’s broadcast arrangements in China to the whole season, including the finals, off the back of a first and successful premiership season match in Shanghai last year,” said Auld.

“We’re in the privileged position to be able to host a premiership season match in China, and we feel that even more with our new television broadcast arrangements for the season with Guangzhou TV, Shanghai TV and Shandong TV helping us to increase the AFL’s footprint into an important market and to support our international strategy.

“Interest in our game in China is increasing which is reflected with Guangzhou TV making a commitment to broadcast at least one game a week on top of a weekly highlights show,” he said.

The Port Adelaide Football Club will feature in 11 matches of the 23 weekly home and away season matches to air on Guangzhou TV, and if the team reaches the finals , all of their matches will be broadcast live.

Port Adelaide Football Club chief executive Keith Thomas said the agreement would provide a huge boost to the brand.

“To have our club broadcast on commercial television into China is a massive plus for our brand and for the exposure of our corporate partners such as Oak Plus, particularly around our home games at Adelaide Oval.

“We believe that to grow the game in China, the AFL has to be front and centre and be seen on commercial television consistently each weekend,” said Thomas.