So as the curtain came down on another season of the most watched football league in the world, I was left pondering an interesting question. What will happen to Man City now they have been crowned champions? Will they continue to make headlines in Europe but remain relatively unknown in the rest of the world…or will they do as Manchester United did before them and explode onto the scene in China? Will we have a new football giant in the East?
I am inclined to believe the latter and not just because of the obvious reasons. We all know that Chinese fans love success will follow whichever team is on top, however I believe their connection with Man City is deeper.
It began when Sun Jihai joined City in 2002 and represented them at the top level for the next 7 years. In China he already had a great reputation and had built up a large following so he gave Man City some valuable exposure in the Far East.
This momentum continued to grow when City was bought by Sheikh Mansour who pumped billions of pounds into the club in search of that illusive Premiership title. With this new money came some big name signings….which of course immediately came to the attention of the fans out in China. Just like with Chelsea, their fan base grew enormously when the club was taken over by Roman Abramovich and the best footballers from around the world turned up to play for the Blues. The Chinese love stars and success, both of which Man City have in abundance.
(Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Edin Dzecko, Sergio Aguero)
Having watched the final game of the season in Shanghai, I experienced firsthand the excitement surrounding this new era. The bars were packed with delighted Chinese fans wildly celebrating having watched the drama unfold in the dying seconds of the season. The buzz around their late win reached all four corners of China and marked the beginning of a new blue dawn, driving fans to get behind the team as they embark on a new campaign.
It seems they are capitalizing on this hype with an upcoming game to be played against Arsenal in Beijing and with the launch of official club pages on China’s top social networks. The exposure in China will be vast and this can only lead to hugely increased shirt sales and rapid fan growth. This could be the start of a major shift in power at the top of the football charts.
Formula to China success:
CHAMPIONS + TRENDING IN CHINA =
NEW FOOTBALL SUPERPOWER