The Chinese football market


China's Football Dream

As part of his cooperation with the China Soccer Observatory (CSO), Prof. Schmidt has contributed several chapters on Chinese football to a new e-book.

>>> Hier geht's direkt zum Buch


There has been some kinde like a gold rush atmosphere in China for some time now. The Chinese government is pursuing the ambitious plan to make its country a world power in football by 2050. By 2030, they want the first World Cup to be taken place in China. At the moment, football is already the number two sport in China.

This golden rush not only leads the Chinese to search for football know-how in Europe. From an economic point of view, the Chinese market is enormously interesting for European football clubs - not only because of its size alone. As part of their internationalization activities, there are therefore more and more clubs active in China.

For these reasons, we at the Center for Sports and Management are working intensively on China and its potential for European football. Among other things, we have analyzed the Chinese football consumers in a research report and put the strategy of Bayern Munich in China under the microscope in a Harvard Case Study. Prof. Schmidt is also a Fellow of the "China Soccer Observatory". All information can be found on this page.

>>> Download the research report here: Dancing with the Dragon


Dancing with the Dragon: The Quest for the Chinese Football Consumer

China’s concerted football engagement fertilizes the development of domestic football consumers supporting both domestic and foreign clubs. Winning over the Chinese football fan means competing with the well-advanced entertainment industry in China. The Chinese Super League and top European football clubs need to face their competitors from other sports and entertainment industries to take advantage of the current gold rush fever in football. Their efforts in growing a fan base will promote the sport to become a national pastime in China.

For a fan culture to grow and fuel, it is crucial to understand how and why the Chinese people consume football – on the pitch as well as in the digital sphere. Furthermore, it is important to identify inherent motivations and needs (e.g., for drama, escapism, or knowledge) that influence the decision to watch football and to better target the communication toward sport spectators. We decided to examine what a typical Chinese football consumer looks like. What are the motives to watch football? Which football stars and clubs are supported and why? What role do digital channels play for football consumption? How does a boom in esports affect sport consumer behavior? What are commonalities and differences between the Chinese and more or less advanced football markets abroad?

Accordingly, the Center for Sports and Management (CSM) designed a representative survey across five different countries (China, Germany, USA, South Korea, and Japan) exploring individual spectator motives, characteristics of favorite players and teams, and sport (media) consumption behavior. Overall, 5,000 people participated in the online survey and face-to-face interviews (China). Their opinions are representative for a population of 1.899 billion people in Asia, Europe, and the USA. The survey results were discussed with China experts to derive recommendations for designing marketing and sales strategies tailored to win the Chinese football consumers.

>>> Download the research report here: Dancing with the Dragon


Bayern Münchens Strategie in China

In 2015, the German record champion Bayern Munich begins to enter the Chinese market. But how does he have to proceed to succeed in China? For example, competitors such as Manchester United or Real Madrid have been present in China for almost a decade. In the case study "Bayern Munich in China", Prof. Schmidt, together with the Harvard Business School in Boston, took up this question and analyzed the strategy of FC Bayern in China.

>>> More Information on this case study


CSO - China Soccer Observatory

The following links take you to the previous contributions by Prof. Schmidt for the China Soccer Observatory.

>>> Who is the Chinese Soccer Consumer

>>> How to be successful in the Chinese market

>>> Bayern Munich's strategy To Enter The Chinese Market