• Andrew Collins

Red Card 2016: China Digital Football Index

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Today we released the 5th annual Red Card report, analyzing the top European football team’s digital success in China. Our aim is to provide an independent analysis that empowers teams to make an informed decision on how to improve their China digital strategy.

For many sports organizations, China has become the number one market for fan growth, revenue opportunities, and untapped sponsorship deals. The collision of a highly competitive sports media landscape and a national mandate to bring international sports to China has created the fastest growing sports market in the world.

Here’s a look at how well European football performs in China:

  1. Bayern Munich is the #1 team on Chinese digital media.

  2. Manchester United is the most followed club on Chinese social media.

  3. WeChat follower numbers are revealed publicly for the first time ever with 4 clubs reaching over 50,000 followers.

  4. China is the #1 country for pre-season fixtures with 10 teams playing exhibition matches and the first International Champions Cup held in Asia.

  5. The Bundesliga is the most popular European league on Chinese social media.

  6. Three of the top 5 most followed football stars on Twitter, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, still do not have a presence on Weibo.


Inside the report, you can also find quotes from experts in the field and superstars on the pitch. We know you wouldn’t want to miss that:

Ronaldinho on why his Chinese fans are so important:

“In China the most important thing for me is respect. I use Weibo to communicate with my fans and feel as close to them as possible. They always show me much love, so I find this as a way to give them something back”.

Stefan Mennerich, Director at Bayern Munich:

“As the Chinese market grows in importance for FC Bayern and more effort and attention is invested in it, we’re delighted to have finished top of the ‘Red Card’ China digital football index.”

Make sure to check out the full report here!


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