This report analyses the evolving synergies between Chinese and European football across key areas including sponsorship and fan engagement strategies.
In Euromonitor’s 2020 League Index, the CSL ranked second in APAC football only to Japan’s more established J1 League. The CSL comfortably outscored competitors such as the Indian Super League and K League across key metric groups. Yet, uncertainty remains ahead, both with the pandemic and the introduction of tighter government regulations on corporate owner influence and player salary caps.
In Europe, top leagues and teams continue to look toward China as a key frontier for growth, both in terms of unlocking new fan segments and bolstering revenue streams such as broadcast and sponsorship. Increased connectivity in the market continues to grow this opportunity and is cause for European optimism.
In China, football isn’t the only game in town. Basketball is hugely popular and as a result the NBA continues to emphasise its strategic importance. Esports is flourishing in China and threatens to disrupt attention that might otherwise have been won by traditional sports. Some teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers are attempting to bundle European football with Chinese esports interest to amplify its brand.
The pandemic put a halt to many international friendlies and regional tours that have become typical of teams attempting to break into new markets. As the world emerges from the pandemic there will be heightened interest in hosting competitions in China in order to recapture lost attention.
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