FEATURE16 January 2017

Football fans finding their feet in China

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Asia Pacific Features Impact Leisure & Arts

With investment, supporters, big clubs and grassroots initiatives, football is becoming China’s go-to sport. By Jane Bainbridge


China is shaping all sorts of areas of sport these days. Whether it’s the sheer purchasing power that the vast numbers of Chinese supporters wield, or the investments their businesses are making into sports properties across the world, their influence is being felt. 

Football, in particular, has been a focal point for the Chinese and, according to a report from Nielsen Sport – China and Football – World Sport’s Newest Superpower – interest in football has increased by more than 4% in the past three years. 

While Chinese football fandom is growing, it is the investment in football teams that’s really shifting the economic landscape of the sport. Where once brands used football as a marketing vehicle for their sponsorship activities, now it has spread to actually creating and buying assets and content – from players and teams to entire broadcast deals. 

When Vansen International Sports Company bought Dutch side, ADO Den Haag in 2014, it was ...