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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

How to engage with your core Chinese fans

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

What makes a football club successful? A great manager, star players or a number of championships? No, it’s the fans, especially the core fan base! More and more clubs now talk about  “how to engage with their core fans”  in their digital strategy, so how can they do this in China?

Viewing Parties

This is the best way for a club to connect with their Chinese fans who can’t watch the game live in the stadium. For the past two years, Manchester United have organized fan viewing parties and trophy tours to Shanghai and Beijing, also inviting legends from the club to attend. Chinese fans have the chance to interact with club legends and see first hand the team’s trophies.

Sports Events

Now more and more football clubs are starting to organize live sports events to engage with their Chinese fans. Events like the Arsenal Charity Run, Manchester United soccer school and last year we saw the Bodog Champions League. Despite not being a European club, Bodog used their title as Arsenal’s official Asian Gaming Partner to arrange a football tournament with eight of European team’s Shanghai supporters clubs. This style of event is effective in engaging core fans as they are representing their favourite club and fighting for their team to win the title.

China Tour Activation

This summer, 10 European football clubs came to China for their summer tours, including giants such as Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich. But just watching the friendly matches is not enough for the core fans, so many clubs invited these fans to their open trainings, with some clubs even organizing player meet and greets. This is the best way to engage with a team’s core fans, but obviously can only happen during the summer tours.

Digital initiatives

The most common way for a club to engage with their core fans is through digital media, whether this is introducing supporters clubs, running online contests or profiling the fan of the week. Chinese fans love to receive recognition from the club, as well as being incentivized to engage in social contests.

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