American football gaining traction in China

Global Business

In the United States, there is no bigger sport than American football with annual revenues hitting $13 billion in 2016. The sport is going global with many, eyeing China as the next growth market.

CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.

American football gaining traction in China

American football gaining traction in China

The China Arena Football League plans on adding two more teams this year, and the NFL hopes to showcase a regular season game in Beijing in 2018. It seems this all-American sport is poised to score a major touchdown in China very soon.
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Among the China Arena Football League, half of the players are American, and the other half are Chinese. It is made up of six teams with 20 players each. Unlike traditional American football, these teams play indoors on smaller fields.

American football hasn’t traditionally been big in China – basketball and European football are much more popular, but many believe that’s about to change. Athletes, U.S. sports entrepreneurs and the Chinese government are backing American football.

David Niu, President of the China Arena Football League, said 15,000 fans showed up for the Shanghai championship game. “I think that speaks to the fact that people like indoor entertainment in China. They like valued priced entertainment, and they’re looking for something a little bit different. Our game actively invites everyone to be a part of it,” he said.

The China Arena Football League plans on adding two more teams this year, and the NFL hopes to showcase a regular season game in Beijing in 2018. It seems this all-American sport is poised to score a major touchdown in China very soon.


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America football sees China as the next growth market.To discuss the difference between NFL and Arena Football League in China, CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke to Martin Judge Jr., founder and chairman of the China Arena Football League.