WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Aug. 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ganlan Media International, a sports development company based in Beijing, announces that it has received the exclusive rights from the Arena Football League to establish a China-based professional American arena football league.
As owners of Ganlan Media International, Martin E. Judge, Jr., CEO and founder of The Judge Group, and Ron Jaworski, ESPN Analyst and NFL Pro Bowl quarterback, will spearhead the project. Both businessmen are also owners of The Philadelphia Soul, the 2012 Eastern Divisional Champions of the Arena Football League.
Jaworski traveled to Beijing this week to join Judge and Gary Morris, president of The Judge Group, to meet with Chinese officials and the Government to receive their approval and support for bringing American football to China. Afterward, they hosted press conferences, which were attended by the three leading news organizations in China to announce that "Professional American Football is coming to China."
"We're coming to a country that doesn't know much about what American football is, but China is a country that loves sports," Jaworski said. "They will pick up on football very quickly. I watched the Olympics this summer and watched their weightlifters, and I think I'd like to have some of those guys on my offensive line."
"I have been doing business in China since 2008," said Judge. "In 2010, Ron and I were discussing his ventures to take football to India. During this conversation, we discussed that China would also be a great country in which to expand the international sport of professional football. We then began discussions with Jerry Kurz, Commissioner of the AFL, to obtain their exclusive rights to the game in China."
"We are excited and extremely motivated to support Marty, Ron and Gary, along with their Chinese partners, in any way we can to extend our great game to China," said Kurz. "We just celebrated our 25th season, which is very exciting to all of us within the AFL. Bringing our game to China, and in the future to many more countries, is a great way to add to our celebration."
Jaworski has teamed with Judge as part of the ownership group in China. An NFL star himself, Jaworski has been an energetic owner and proponent of the indoor game since the Philadelphia Soul launched in 2003.
"I am impressed with the passion I see here in China and all over the world for our game," said Jaworski. "It won't be easy, but with Marty's leadership, Gary's presence in China, the support of the Chinese officials and government, the exclusive backing of the AFL, and personal friends like my old coach Dick Vermeil behind us, I know we have the perfect team to make this work."
"I have learned many things about the Chinese culture and its people's passion for sports over the last four years living and working in China," said Morris. "Through extensive communications over the last several years with our commercial and government relationships in China, I have found that they feel very strongly that professional American arena football will be successful because it's a high-energy, high-scoring game played very close to the fans. It can be played in the many indoor stadium venues that already exist in China, which makes it a natural fit."
For the inaugural season, Ganlan Media International projects a six-team model, playing a 10-game schedule in the fall/winter of 2014. Since the AFL plays a spring/summer schedule, a fall/winter schedule in China will allow managers, coaches, players and referees from the United States the ability to help the Chinese league train and develop over the next few years as it expands to multiple cities throughout China. Ganlan Media International is planning to have three exhibition games in 2013 in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
For more information on Ganlan Media International, please call 800-471-3460.
The Ganlan Media International logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=14434
Media Contact Lou Tilley (484) 270-3270