China is about to add indoor American-style football, known as arena football, to its national roster. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.
American-style arena football to open in ChinaChina is about to add indoor American-style football, known as arena football, to its national roster. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reports.
Philadelphia businessman, Marty Judge, who is now the new chairman of the China American Football League, has a long history of looking for the next big thing. For decades, he’s run a company that offers clients staffing, consulting, and even help with technology. Now, he’s set his sights on bringing American-style football to China, where he already has a corporate office.
Judge already owns part of The Philadelphia Soul, an American arena football team, and together with business partners they approached China’s General Administration of Sport in 2012. The Administration had just pledged to triple its investment in the sporting industry.
Two years later, Judge and his partners signed an agreement with the Chinese government to bring American arena football to China.
“I gave six universities all the equipment for arena football, the goal post, the field, helmets, shoulder pads, everything. So they could start playing football.” he said.
Those six universities are now part of training and drafting Chinese players to make up a portion of eight new arena football teams throughout China. Players are learning how to tackle, throw, and catch a football.
CCTV Sports Analyst, Dong Jun, says the CAFL has not attracted that much public attention, and expressed skepticism over how it will be received.
“Most kids in Chinese families are the only child. And although Chinese parents are learning to respect their child’s choice. They are still very much concerned about the risks because traditionally Chinese young people do not engage in physical contact sport that much,” he said.
Judge said an arena football exhibition game played last year attracted 10,000 people. He’s now shifted his focus to finding franchise buyers among the Chinese elite.
The Chinese American Football League is expected to start its first season in 2015. Teams will sell for $10 million a piece initially.
The League is expected to start its first season in 2015.