Back in June, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba left the club and officially signed for China’s Shanghai Shenhua, which was owned by MMO publisher/ developer The9’s CEO. Roped in to promote the upcoming PlanetSide 2 as well, the fee paid to Didier Drogba for his upcoming effort was officially revealed by The9 earlier today (below), which is Euro 3.1 million (soccer/ football salary is another amount). A hefty fee no doubt, but it seems The9 is just happily bleeding cash in its marketing and investment departments.
The9 Limited Signed up Didier Yves Drogba Tebily for Endorsing and Promoting Planetside 2
Shanghai, August 10, 2012 – The9 Limited (NASDAQ: NCTY) (“The9”),an online game developer and operator, announced today that it has entered into an endorsement agreement with Didier Yves Drogba Tebily (“Drogba”), a top soccer player in the world, for endorsement and promotion of Planetside 2, a MMO shooter game licensed from Sony Online Entertainment LLC, in Asia.
Under the agreement, Drogba will participate in various advertising initiatives for promoting Planetside 2. Drogba has also granted The9 certain other rights relating to the promotion activities, including the use of Drogba’s name, photos, voice and likeness. The endorsement agreement is for a term of one year. In consideration for the endorsement services provided by Drogba, The9 agrees to pay Drogba a sum of Euro 3.1million.
Shanghai Shenhua Liansheng Football Club Co., Ltd. (“Shenhua”) has signed up Drogba as its player. Because Mr. Zhu Jun, the Chairman and CEO of The9 and a major shareholder of The9, is also a major shareholder of Shenhua, the endorsement and promotion transactions with Drogba would constitute related party transactions. The Audit Committee of The9 engaged an international independent valuation firm to advise it in connection with these transactions. Based on the analysis by the valuation firm, which studied, among other things, the relevant market data for similar transactions, and taking into account the commercial value these endorsement and promotion activities is expected to bring to The9, the Audit Committee of The9 on behalf of its board of directors approved the endorsement and promotion transactions with Drogba. Mr. Zhu recused himself from any discussion among the board of directors regarding this matter.
Chris Shen, The9’s VP of Marketing, commented, “in the competitive Chinese online game market, it is more and more important to implement an innovative and cost-efficient marketing solution to promote a new title among the target users and attract their attention and interest. Anelka’s endorsement for Firefall has proved to be a great success in building up recognition of Firefall among the gamers. By leveraging Drogba’s popularity and high media exposure in the coming year, and implementing various cross-marketing programs with Drogba’s endorsement, we hope to effectively enhance Planetside 2’s coverage on various media and significantly increase the brand recognition and popularity of the game among our target users.”