Soccer fans holding a Chinese national flag at a match. Photo: China Stringer Network.

Though China’s national football team failed to win entry to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Chinese enterprises have become the major sponsors for the upcoming event in Russia, reported.

Compared to the last World Cup four years ago, when there was only one Chinese sponsor, an unprecedented seven Chinese firms have made the sponsor list this year, covering three levels of sponsorship.

Among them, Wanda Group spent US$1.5 million in 2016 for FIFA level one sponsorship, which means the Chinese conglomerate will have full access to the advertising and marketing of all events over the next four World Cups from 2018 onward.

Also, according to the latest data released by market research firm Zenith, advertising costs during the 2018 World Cup totalled US$2.4 billion, of which Chinese companies spent the most, reaching US$835 million — twice the figure of the US’s US$400 million.

That amount is even far higher than the host country’s advertising investment of US$64 million.