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Shanghai showdown confirmed

  • Saturday, November 21 2009 @ 07:49 pm ACDT
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As suggested in recent articles, the AFL has now confirmed that the Brisbane Lions will take on the Melbourne Demons in Shanghai's World Expo on October 17 next year. The match will be staged at the Jiangwan Sports Centre, which has a capacity of up to 30,000.

Dual announcements were made, with Victoria's premier John Brumby and Kevin Sheedy at a press conference in Melbourne's Chinatown and the AFL's David Matthews and Western Bulldogs showman Jason Akermanis attending a signing ceremony in Shanghai.

Brumby has predicted that "This will be a great way to promote our game, it will be a great way to promote AFL and it will be a great way to build a stronger relationship between China and Victoria". His state will be spending AUD $6 million promoting themselves at the six month World Expo.

Matthews signed the stadium agreement with representatives from the Yangpu Government at the KIC Resource Center. Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions will play for the Kaspersky AFL Cup, named after software protection company Kaspersky, one of Melbourne's major sponsors. Matthews said "We are extremely excited to be able to bring Australia's indigenous game and all its unique skills to Shanghai as we continue to develop the code internationally. This is a great way to position ourselves as we keep ramping up our international strategy. We will see what the opportunities are across the world".

"Jason Akermanis put on a kicking display to the schoolkids at the signing ceremony here in Shanghai and he was amazing. He just has universal appeal."

The announcements attracted plenty of press in Australia, for example see Brumby predicts China game will ignite Asian passion and AFL announces plans to stage first match in China. It will be interesting to see if the release registers in Chinese media.