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Volume 7 No. 149
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New England Patriots Become First NFL Team With 500,000 Weibo Followers

Tom Brady is a favorite for Chinese fans.
Photo: getty images

The NFL New England Patriots are the most popular NFL team online in China following a monumental year, on and off the field. Last week, the Patriots hit 500,000 followers on Weibo -- a growth of 400,000 within the past 12 months -- becoming the first NFL team to reach half-a-million, with the closest club to the Patriots on Weibo the Pittsburgh Steelers (271,000). The Patriots are the fastest-growing and most-engaged NFL club online in China, currently growing quicker than many European football clubs including ManU and Barcelona as well as the majority of NBA clubs. The Patriots amassed a cult following in the world's most populous country thanks to a dedicated and localized approach to the market. The Patriots produced a China-specific studio show (Gillette Stadium TV), as well as the Tom Brady China Show -- a monthly content series featuring the six-time Super Bowl champion -- to deliver local stories and content (Mailman).