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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Red Card 2020: China Digital Football Awards - Report

Mailman has officially launched the Red Card 2020: China Digital Football Awards report.

In its 9th year of publication, the annual Red Card report reveals the most influential European football clubs, leagues, and players online in China. The headline awards were assessed by Mailman’s traditional metrics, and the 10 digital awards were judged by a specifically selected panel of 10 industry experts in China across agencies, broadcasters, media, and consultancies. This year also saw the introduction of the Weibo Award and Douyin Award, which were selected by the platforms themselves.


Number One Club Online: FC Barcelona

Number One League Online: Premier League

Number One Player Online: Cristiano Ronaldo


Best Fan Event: FC Bayern Munich

Best China Tour: Tottenham Hotspur

Best Original Video: Chelsea FC

Best Sponsorship: iQIYI

Best CSR Project: AIA

Best Grassroots Project: La Liga

Best Use of Influencers: Manchester United

Best Use of Technology: Paris Saint-Germain

Best Use of Design: FIFA

Best Use of Fan Clubs: Borussia Dortmund


Weibo Award: Chelsea FC

Most Viewed Video on Douyin Award: Paris Saint-Germain


1st. FC Barcelona

2nd. Real Madrid

3rd. Chelsea FC

4th. Manchester City

5th. Manchester United & Juventus

English Premier League’s Winning Year:

Most followed football league on Weibo

Most engaged football league on Weibo - 2x higher than second place

Surpassed 1 million followers on Douyin - the first football league to do so

Highest average reads on WeChat - 70% higher than second place

Most followed league on Toutiao

Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive: “To receive this Red Card award for the second year running is a great honour and testament to the Premier League and our clubs’ loyal fanbase in China. We witnessed their passionate support during last year’s successful Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing and Shanghai, something that has been reflected by the growing popularity of our digital coverage in the country.

Through our dedicated content team we have delivered innovative and compelling content across key platforms such as Douyin and Weibo, while the tournament itself also provided a valuable opportunity to offer promotional support for PP Sports, as we officially launched our broadcast partnership with them. We are committed to developing our digital presence in China and bringing the Premier League closer to millions of fans in the country.”

Barcelona’s Winning Year

Highest engagement rate on Weibo

Highest total impressions on Weibo

Most engaged football club on Douyin

Launched Barca Academy China Cup

Renewed OPPO partnership with exclusive smartphone

Dídac Lee, FC Barcelona Board Member: “We’re delighted to accept the award for Number 1 Club online in China as part of the Red Card awards for 2020. It’s a testament to the effort, teamwork and innovation of all of those involved with FC Barcelona in China. All Barça fans around the world have something in common – a love and passion for the Club, shared values and the way we play football.

Our challenge is to create content for China that is bespoke to the ever-evolving digital landscape, culture and habits of this market and we’re proud to be recognised for outstanding fan growth and engagement.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Winning Year

Most engaged player on Weibo 2.7 million total engagement, 2.5x higher than Messi (2nd)

Most followed player on Weibo with 6.6 million followers

Most followed foreign player on Toutiao

Partnership deals with Seven Brand and Anmuxi

Cristiano Ronaldo: “I am very pleased with this award. I know that I have a huge part of fans in China and it means a lot to be on top of the table for the second year in a row. Thank you very much for this, it’s a pleasure to be with you all.”

Andrew Collins, Mailman Group CEO: “We saw 100% year-on-year growth in followers on Weibo and a 45% increase in engagement across the world’s biggest teams this past year as football fast becomes more socially relevant and digitally friendly on China’s major platforms. There were 16.3 million new followers on Weibo across the top clubs, with more than 20 teams now engaging their fans on Douyin as digital continued to explode in China over the past 12 months.”

Methodology: The online performances were assessed according to eight different metrics. The data analysed was collected between January 1st 2019 - December 31st 2019. The platforms selected for analysis were determined according to relevance in connecting with Chinese football fans and their popularity in China’s current digital landscape.

Download the full report for free here


Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Mailman is a global sports digital consultancy and agency. We help the world’s leading sports organisations serve their audiences and build their businesses. With over 200 experts across the globe, we specialise in digital strategy, transformation, social media, content production, and eCommerce.

For further information, please contact:

Denis Green +86 16602182243

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