China Misses Out On Premier League's Off-Season Asian Jamboree
The Premier League's top sides went on tours of Asia this month in six countries or territories, but there was "one glaring omission: mainland China," according to the AFP. EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said many businesses see the fast-developing country as "the holy grail," but he didn't "quite see it in the same way." Football and marketing experts said that there "were a number of commercial, logistical and sporting reasons for staying away." Scudamore: "It's not just a broadcasting entity, it's a marketing entity and we are working out in the regions in China because you cannot really describe China as a single entity, given the size, the scope and the expansion of it." Beijing sports marketing analyst Tiger Tian said that "a combination of factors had kept English teams out of China," adding fans in major cities were becoming increasingly "picky." Tian: "They're fed-up with big names but poor performances, which unfortunately had been the case on several occasions when Premier League teams visited before. Rapidly rising costs and limited sources of revenue are also threatening promoters' bottom lines." Sports marketing agency Total Sports Asia Exec VP of Media Julian Jackson said there was "a fairly easy reason" why China had not got in on the Premier League jamboree. The league's failure to strike a deal to have games shown on China's state broadcaster CCTV means that "it simply does not have the same following as elsewhere in the football-mad region." Jackson: "Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand traditionally have stronger support for the teams that come here." Red Lantern Digital Media Founder Lewis Hannam said, "China is still a maturing market in terms of holding sports events" (AFP, 8/1).