AFL GM for China & India David Stevenson said that this weekend's Gold Coast vs. Port Adelaide game in Shanghai "will be the most-watched game in AFL history" because it will be broadcast in three major centers on free-to-air TV, according to Jake Niall of THE AGE. The AFL also expects that "about half of the crowd" at the Suns-Power game will be local Chinese, compared to the estimated 30% locals who attended the game last year. Stevenson said these estimates are "based on ticket sales." He added that this year's game will be broadcast on China's main sports channel in the major population centers of Shanghai, Shandong and Guangzhou. Last year, the game was broadcast on only two of those channels (in Shanghai and Guangzhou) and a digital national channel. Stevenson said of the broadcast audience, "I'm confident it will be a big number" (THE AGE, 5/16).
Events and Attractions
The Ireland national rugby team will play Italy at Soldier Field in Chicago in November. The side defeated New Zealand at the same venue in '16. The game against Italy will be "part of a trio of fixtures" including games between the U.S. and New Zealand on the same day. The U.S. men will play the All Blacks and the women's team will face the Black Ferns (BBC, 5/15).
UFC confirmed its debut event in Russia will be held at Olimpiyskiy Arena in Moscow on Sept. 15. UFC has experienced a rise in popularity in Russia over the past few years, with a fan base that has grown to more than 22 million, driven by the success of local athletes (UFC).
The West Indies and Bangladesh will play two Twenty20 matches in Florida from Aug. 4-5 at the Central Broward oval. The scheduling continues Cricket West Indies' "efforts to make inroads into the largely untapped North American market," on the heels of two matches between the West Indies and India at the same venue two years ago (REUTERS, 5/15).
White Ferns Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and Lea Tahuhu will play in the Women's T20 Challenge Match in India, "a first step in which the BCCI hopes will end with a women's version of the Indian Premier League." Several Indian players will be involved in the match, along with internationals from New Zealand, Australia and England (STUFF, 5/16).