Pirelli becomes title sponsor of the Chinese Super League

Preliminary agreement for three-year sponsorship signed today by
Giuseppe Cattaneo, CEO of Pirelli China, and Lv Feng of CSL

Beijing, 20 March 2009 - Starting this year and for the next three years, Pirelli will become the institutional sponsor of the Chinese Super League (CSL), the top professional football championship league in China, organized by the Chinese Football Association (CFA). The Championship will thus be called the "Pirelli Super League".

The preliminary agreement for sponsorship of the CSL was signed today by Giuseppe Cattaneo, CEO of Pirelli China, and by Lv Feng of CSL.

Officially created in 2004 from the evolution of the previous A1 championship, the Chinese Super League will represent the professional sports event with the largest following in the country thanks to the growing popularity of football, among the sports that now count the greatest numbers in China in terms of both players and fans. Last year there were more than 150 million television viewers, while fans physically present at each match reached a number close to 15,000.

CSL today includes 16 teams which play 30 matches between March and November. The season kickoff will take place tomorrow at the Hanghai stadium in Zhengzhou, with a major live television event with the presence of 20,000 fans.

Pirelli, which has had an industrial presence in China since 2005, when the first part of its factory was inaugurated in the Shandong Province, today counts two manufacturing lines in China which produce tyres for cars and trucks in the city of Yanzhou. Pirelli is present in China with a series of initiatives that contribute to its brand awareness, such as the presentation of the 2008 Pirelli Calendar in Shanghai, and other cultural initiatives. The company desires, with this sponsorship, to strengthen its image through sports.

Pirelli has a long tradition in the world of sports. In football, in particular, Pirelli has a relationship going back more than ten years with Inter, is the partner of Swiss team Basel, and has made sponsorship agreements in the past with the Palmeiras Brazilian team and the Argentine club Velez Sarsfield.

Pirelli specializes in high performance tyres and is the brand of choice for car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. The link between powerful performance and football makes CSL a natural partner for Pirelli.

Pirelli intends to support Chinese football through this sponsorship, accompanying its evolution and offering international know-how in an active partnership. The company thus confirms its strategy of greater integration in the Chinese community and social fabric.

 "China is one of the markets leading the world economy. Sponsorship of the CSL is a great opportunity for a company like ours with an important industrial presence and a relationship with the local community which over time has become more and more deeply rooted. The popularity of football, and its power to bring people together, make it the ideal vehicle to contribute to bringing the Pirelli brand into the hearts and homes of Chinese people," said Marco Tronchetti Provera, Chairman of the Pirelli Group.

CSL said Pirelli was the ideal partner. "We are delighted to welcome such a world-renowned company as title sponsor of CSL" said Mr. Nan Yong, the Vice President of CFA. "With today's announcement, Pirelli Super League - CFA will provide beautiful football games over next three years, to the continued delight of fans in China".