The Global Push To China
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
There are a multitude of reasons for the global push by sports franchises and bodies into to China. It is not a new thing either and their commercial push has created an increasingly competitive space. Sporting bodies like the NBA have invested here since the late 70’s enjoying great success & according to the Chinese Basketball Association have 300 million players, football teams like The Premier League’s Manchester City have around 10 millions fans on Chinese media.
Its big business and everyone is making a play, those efforts are being rewarded in merchandising sales, broadcasting revenue & audience numbers, fan base growth, social media influence and other revenue areas but what is this doing for sport in China?
Most of the International sports and teams pushing into China face little or no domestic competition and soak up the attention of the Chinese public who flock to that international ‘Star’ appeal. The Chinese public are so enamoured by the charms of Europe & America’s sporting elites, but stubbornly resistant to their domestic leagues. This preoccupation drains domestic sport in China of talent, growth potential and pushes Chinese brands & partners like Huawei & ZTE elsewhere.
The English Premier League draws a huge Chinese audience while European team shirts are a fashion symbol on streets from Shanghai to Beijing but a long-term vision for the game which applies to all sport in China and investment in quality youth coaching and technical development, the building of a solid and sustainable domestic competition is what is needed.
Until changes are made to the system governing Sport in China, improving the way sport is promoted & developed, China can only hope to be a top consumer of sport rather than producer of it, both in unearthing future talent and in creating success on and off the field.