China and Football Report


World Sport´s newest Superpower

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 first 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. This Nielsen Sports report aims to provide an outline of that consumer, China’s media landscape and where domestic and international football fits into the picture.


The development of China’s professional football system – and its increasing influence over world football – is being driven by government strategies and investment plans, for both football specifically and the wider sports industry. Chinese companies and wealthy individuals are encouraged to invest heavily in events, teams, facilities, agencies and sponsorships, inside and outside the country.


building the market

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EXPERT VIEW: Glenn Lovett, President Global Strategy, Nielsen Sports and Danny Townsend, Chief Revenue Officer, Nielsen Sports

“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”.

China´s media landscape

China’s media landscape is transforming. The country has hundreds of television broadcast stations, 20 of which are operated by broadcast giant China Central Television (CCTV) with the rest either provincial or local city stations. It is also one of the world’s major advertising markets.