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England Football Strip Outstrips the other Strips – in China

00:00 GVs England Squad training (prior to recent World Cup)

Exterior, Warwick Business School

Interior (foyer), Warwick Business School

Guide Voice: The nature of football means that an international team isn’t always that well appreciated in their own country – so it may come as some relief to the England team to know that they’re very much appreciated half a world away!
A new study of the strength of interest in international football across China by Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick has thrown up some surprising results.

00:23 SOT: Dr Sue Bridgewater, Associate Professor in Warwick Business School– “Firstly I was surprised that there was more than twice the number of people interested in international football than were interested in local Chinese football; there was 31% of fans interested in Chinese local football but 78% were interested in international football and if you said ‘well in a major tournament if China weren’t playing, like in the 2006 world cup, would you support another international team?’ 93% of the people we talked to would actually support another international team even though it’s not their country”.

00:54 Chinese student playing football in gym

Guide Voice:And the results become even more surprising when you ask them which international team they support.

01:01 SOT: Dr Bridgewater– “ Well the main team that they support is England. England came out ahead of Argentina and Brazil they were the second and third…I think it was Brazil then Argentina and Italy and Germany and they were the top 5 teams who were mentioned.”

01:15 Tilt up from England badge to Chinese student
Wide – photographer with Dr Bridgewater & two Chinese students (wearing English team shirts)
c.u. Student in England “away” strip
c.u. Studen’t face
student playing with football
wide – Dr Bridgewater with student in England “home” strip
GVs – student playing football in gym
GVs – England World Cup squad in training

Guide Voice: Dr Bridgewater’s report, which has recently been presented to the English Football Association established that there was more interest in international than domestic football competitions – and in major tournaments where China was not represented it was England that reaped the main benefit of transferred support. The research noted that the most commonly seen international strip in China was that of the England squad – and it’s not just the national team’s shirt that Chinese fans buy. Top premiership clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea also attracted attention. So why are Chinese fans so interested in English football?

01:51 SOT: Juncheng Ren, PhD Student and Captain of the University’s Chinese Student’s Soccer Team– “I think it’s the international ranking of the English National Team and the famous football stars in the team as well”.

02:02 GVs – England World Cup squad in training

Guide Voice: Whatever the reasons its good news for English Football as a brand. China is one of the world’s major economic success stories; its development in recent years has established it as one of the world’s mega-markets making it a major target for international marketing.

02:18 SOT: Dr. Bridgewater– “I think it’s interesting to know that there is awareness and interest in international teams, not just national teams but also for the club side who came out strongly - that was Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool and Chelsea and Arsenal were fairly strong; the Premiership got good coverage. In practical terms, obviously Umbro has licensees in china so there are football shirts on sale in China. More than half of those people we spoke to owned at least one international football shirt and would know where to buy them, could buy them in the local sports shop across all the regions that we surveyed in China, so it’s good in terms of bringing revenue to those people who have built awareness and it’s also good because you want people to be interested in seeing matches and therefore driving media revenues”.

03:10 GVs – England World Cup squad in training

Guide Voice: So even if the English fans may sometimes be disappointed by their soccer stars it seems the players can always turn to China for that extra support!

03:20 End of Cut

Additional Material

03:25 SOT: Dr. Bridgewater- If you look at the size of the market and the level of interest what we’re saying is that England football is a dominant brand in the Chinese market and it’s got to be good news and it has knock-on effects both in terms of sponsorship and everything else. You know if global firms are interested in China and looking to get their name known it sounds like putting it on an England shirt would be a good idea.

03:47 SOT: Juncheng Ren, (speaking in Mandarin) – “I think it’s the international ranking of the English National Team and the famous football stars in the team as well”.

03:51SOT: Juncheng Ren,– “In my home town in the primary school, middle school, high school, people are playing football all the time when they’ve got a break or are having fun with friends and on the bus if you’re travelling around the streets in the city you will see a lot of people playing football – it’s just very popular”.

SOT:Juncheng Ren, (same quote as above in Mandarin)

04:20 Additional GVs England World Cup team in training

04:36 END

Page contact: Kelly Newton Last revised: Wed 14 Feb 2007
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