A branding blitz? China picks up American football

HONG KONG AND NEW YORK - In an innovative deal with US backers, China has opened its doors to a new American-style arena football league that could put opportunities in play for brands on both sides of the Pacific.

The China American Football League CAFL, which plans to kick off its debut season in the fall of 2015, marks the first commercially backed professional sports league in China, according to Gary R. Morris, CEO of the CAFL. This is a big step, Morris explained, because all the others in the country, including the highly successful basketball league, are state-owned enterprises at their core.

League chairman Martin Judge, who also shares ownership of...

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