Sports\Top News

Chinese set to live-stream the Super Bowl

By William Hennelly in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-02-03 12:08

Chinese set to live-stream the Super Bowl

NFL China retweeted the New England Patriots' star receiver Julian Edelman's invitation to Chinese fans to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.

"Chinese fans, the most important game is now. We are Patriots!" Edelman's tweet said on Tuesday beneath a picture of himself in action, with the Chinese characters for "squirrel" (songshu), his nickname, superimposed on the image.

The Patriots will play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI (51) in Houston on Sunday.

American pro football is heating up in China, and despite the 13-hour time difference (in Beijing), many Chinese will watch the game at hotels and other parties at 7:30 am Monday morning - and now for the first time, live online.

The NFL, which has partnered with Sina Weibo in recent weeks to live-stream NFL games, will also carry the big game (in Mandarin) on the social network.

"Sina Weibo is an excellent partner for the NFL as we engage fans across the Chinese mainland," said Richard Young, NFL China managing director. "We're confident this will be a valuable long-term partnership for the NFL and our sponsors in China."

Sina Weibo has an estimated 132 million daily users on its platform.

"We are glad to launch this strategic partnership with the NFL," Zhang Zhe, head of Sina Weibo Sports, said in December. "We look forward to helping the NFL grow their Chinese market and explore more commercial opportunities, while also providing our Weibo users with a better opportunity to watch and quickly share LIVE games and highlights."

The game also will be shown on Alisports, BesTV, Fox Sports, GDTV, LETV, PPTV (Digital), QQ (Digital), SMG and iQiYi.

The NFL said it has more than 1.5 million online viewers in China each week. Sina also has rights to non-game video-on-demand clips and highlights.

NFL China, which was established in Beijing in 2007, is attuned to the Chinese market. On Jan 27, it tweeted well wishes for a Happy New Year of the Rooster, with an image of the bird clutching a football.

On Dec 27, the NFL announced that Hong Kong singer and actor William Chan would be its ambassador in China, as well as attend the game. Chan has 20.3 million followers on Weibo.

In Chinese, Super Bowl is translated as chao ji wan, and the CCTV New Year gala is chun wan (gala of the Spring Festival). Many people compare the Super Bowl to “American new year gala” (mei guo chun wan).

One Weibo user posted: “Right after chun wan, here comes chao ji wan,” while another wrote, “Looking forward to seeing American chun wan.”

The NFL’s Kantar-CSM China research shows that more than 19 million people are interested in the sport in China, mainly in Tier 1 cities, with approximately 1 million avid. The NFL says its fan base in China has grown almost 1,100 percent over the past five years, and its research shows that the famous NFL shield logo is well recognized.

Last March, numerous reports floated that the NFL will play a regular-season game in China in 2018, with the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams mentioned as possible participants.

Other highlights for American football in China the past year were a visit by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in September. He said that playing an NFL game in China was a “no-brainer” because of the market’s size.

The future Hall of Famer said all China needs is a homegrown star like Yao Ming was in basketball for the sport to really explode.

“Maybe a (football) player does come out of China like a Yao Ming — that would be the best way to create more interest,” he said last year. “It only just takes one.”

The China Arena Football League, separate from the NFL, could have a head start on producing that player. The league completed its first successful season last fall, and the rosters of its six teams are stocked with half their players from China.

Judy Zhu in New York contributed to this story.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349