Nielsen Sports 2016 ‘China and football – The world’s newest superpower research report’ aims to provide an outline of the Chinese consumer, China’s media landscape, where domestic and international football fits into the picture and how/where/why Chinese sports investment is happening.

“The growth of China in terms of its influence on the global sports business is no secret. Be it investors from China acquiring and investing in sports properties across Europe, international leagues and teams looking to tap into the country’s enormous population to engage a new wave of fans, the buying or selling of key broadcast rights or China’s strategic acquisition of major international sports events, the world of sport has well and truly woken up to the possibilities the market offers.

The world is looking to China and China, increasingly, is looking to the world. Led by strategies developed at a national government level, Chinese companies and individuals are making their mark on global sport like never before. Football, as the world’s most popular and visible sport, has proved magnetic in its attraction: the list of clubs and agencies under Chinese control has grown substantially over the past two years, while at the same time the domestic Chinese Super League has risen in prominence, with fresh investment fuelling a number of eye-catching transfers from more established domestic leagues.

The global sports calendar is also increasingly littered with major events in China. Formula One has raced there since 2004, the FIBA Basketball World Cup is heading there in 2019 and in 2022 Beijing will become the largest city to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games when it plays host to the winter version. Given the size and  fluidity of the market and with new investments being made on a near-weekly basis, a detailed understanding of the Chinese consumer is more vital than ever” says Nielsen Sports.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Basketball is China’s favourite sport
  • Cycling is China’s fastest growing sport in terms of popularity
  • 31% of urban China is interested in football
  • Of China’s 1.37 billion population, there are currently 680 million active internet users, with 653 million of them active users of social media. 577 million of those people are active on social platforms via a mobile
  • 79% of people use mobile to access sports content, 3% behind computers
  • 69% of people use Tencent platforms to access sports content, 12% more than second place
    Sina Sports
  • Spend on player transfers in Chinese football rose to $168.3 in 2015, from $101.8 in 2014. An increase of 65%. 54% of spend was buying players from European clubs, up from 43%
  • 43% of European football sponsorship spend by Chinese companies has come from one category, that of mobile phone manufacturers

Click here to download the ‘China and football – The world’s newest superpower research report’.

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