PORT ADELAIDE has entered into an agreement with the Ausgold Mining Group as the primary backer of its ‘Open to the World’ campaign in 2017, additional to holding match day sponsorship rights of the Power’s historic game in Shanghai.

Ausgold is a gold and copper-ore exploration and development company with interests in Western Australia, Queensland and Broken Hill, with a head office based in Sydney.

The partnership between Ausgold and Port Adelaide arose thanks to a chance visit from company chief Sally Zou to the Power’s early season game against Essendon at the Adelaide Oval.

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said the experience of that game helped establish discussions between Port Adelaide and Ausgold.

“Sally Zou made her way to a Port Adelaide game earlier this year and she was enthralled by the oval experience and our crowd’s reaction,” Mr Thomas said.

“She then heard we were interested in engaging in China and playing a game over there, and started making enquiries as to how Ausgold could be involved.”

As the major backer of Port Adelaide’s ‘Open to the World’ campaign, Ausgold will have prominant display at Power home games in 2017.

“It’s hard to imagine a person who has mining interests in Australia, who is Chinese herself, would have sought out Port Adelaide for any other reason had we not employed our China strategy,” Mr Thomas said.

“I think that’s a really strong reinforcement of what we’re trying to do: she heard about us, saw our game, explored Port Adelaide more and then decided she wanted to financially support the club and our push to China.”

Ausgold is the next non-traditional football partner to join the club on the back of its China engagement strategy, following the high-profile acquisition of Mr Gui Goujie’s Shanghai Cred as a backer earlier in 2016.

Keith Thomas believes Wednesday’s announcement is the beginning of a concerted engagement with major Australian and international partners looking towards 2017.

“Gui Guojie and Shanghai Cred have underpinned and are a very strong financial supporter of the club, Sally Zou and Ausgold are the next and we’re thrilled to have another two high calibre companies supporting us.”

Port Adelaide will conduct a promotional tour of Shanghai to engage the local community in the game of Australian Football, the AFL competition, and assist a roadshow of Australian business and tourism at the end of November.

From there the Power will begin work to present the historic first game for premiership points in China in a world-class event.

That will include the specialised refit of the Jiangwan Stadium to allow 15,000 spectators, as well as tailoring specific packages for entertainment and ticketing purposes.

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“The hard work really begins now, it’s been three years of toil to get through the approval process at AFL and Chinese governmental level, now the immediate goal is to make this game an absolute success,” said Mr Thomas.

“We want this event to be world-class when we go to Shanghai.”