In recent years, the NFL has been pushing to host games in Europe. There have even been talks of relocating a team across the pond. With the Jaguars committed to playing in Europe, the NFL’s sights are set to promote American football elsewhere. It all started this past weekend with the NFL kickoff in China.
American Football in China promoted with NFL’s “Home Field”
The NFL is starting to spread American football culture across China. The new Home Field movement includes an array of events to get fans excited. Fans in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou can visit a dedicated venue – a “home base for football” in each city – to get a taste of the American football experience.
NFL China has partnered with Shanghai Stadium, Beihang University in Beijing, and Tianhe Sports Center in Guangzhou to create a home for football fans lasting through November 3. NFL China’s Managing Director Richard Young weighs in:
“NFL’s strong growth in popularity in China over the past two years makes it the right time for the NFL Home Field project. A total of 27 events over 9 weeks in 3 cities will provide a home for NFL’s expanding avid fan base in China,”
One day per weekend will be set aside for nine weeks so fans can enjoy Home Field events. These events will be a great chance for fans to enjoy some great football action, as well as build a relationship with the NFL.
China’s own University Flag Football League
The NFL kickoff weekend is just the start. There will also be other events, including the University Flag Football League. This league includes Chinese university students; competing for 36 universities across Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou; battling for their city titles and a chance to be crowned champions of “University Bowl V” in Guangzhou on November 17. Young says this will be a major part of the NFL promoting in China:
“The flag football in our University League is being played at a world-class level and this will be the center of the Home Field on-field programming, but all around the field will be a carnival of American football and American football training. People can come out throw a ball, catch a pass, test their athleticism, have some food, socialize with friends and watch a game during the day or under the lights,”
The NFL also hopes that its efforts in China help to grow the number of grassroots football programs that have formed in each city. Not only is Youth football taking off, but in the past two years over ten independent adult full-contact football teams have been established and many will be given a chance to showcase their development with games at the NFL Home Field.
The NFL has been working to promote American football in China since 2007. Last year’s NFL Experience attracted thousands across Beijing and Guangzhou while the official NFL China Super Bowl Parties in Beijing and Shanghai sold out weeks in advance. NFL games are also broadcast around China via 19 local TV broadcasters. In fact viewership is up 66%. Earlier this year, 1.4 million people streamed the Super Bowl XLVII live.
With the NFL on the rise in China, could you see their marketing efforts leading to a team located there? What do you think of the NFL’s “Home Field” program?
Check out this video on American football in China:
Photo credit – twitter.com
The NFL should promote teams holding some of their football training camps in China. This would be a very natural way to gain some additional exposure. As long as there are the right training facilities and equipment available it would make sense. Lots of the equipment could be transported fairly easily anyway.