With an eye to establishing themselves as global players on par with some of the world’s top soccer “superclubs,” New York City FC (NYCFC) announced the launch of a new Chinese website and social media presence on Weibo — the only MLS franchise to cast its gaze to China with a website at present (Toronto FC has a Weibo with over 10,000 fans). The goal, quite simply, is to generate interest and give fans an opportunity to be rewarded.
“The Chinese community is important to New York City FC as we continue to gain supporters from New York City’s local Chinese groups and increase our global fan base from locations abroad. We are proud that our new platforms will allow us to interact with our Chinese speaking supporters,” said Tom Glick, NYCFC President.
Though the move is certainly smart, it is not unexpected, as China Media Capital, a group that owns media, entertainment and sports companies, is a 13 per cent owner of City Group Ltd, which owns the Premier League’s Manchester City, Melbourne City of the Australian A-League and 80 per cent of NYCFC.
Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG’s sports practice, cited their FootballBenchmark.com site by adding, “This investor has a strong presence in Chinese football, being the owner of exclusive media rights to both the Chinese Super League and the China Football Association. The deal has the declared purpose of leveraging the potential for the growth of all the clubs of the group in light of massive growth and interest in football in China.”
China has seen a massive influx of money in the sport with the Chinese Super League (CSL) on a spending spree of late, bringing more world-class players to the league. Brazil’s Alex Teixeira recently signed with Jiangsu Suning for a record $56m.
For its part, NYCFC, which counts several international starts on their roster including Spain’s David Villa, currently runs a Spanish-language site and certainly enjoys the “halo effect” of their primary owner and their relatively deep pockets. Noted Sartori, “The recognized on and off-pitch success and the global exposure of the Manchester City brand surely encouraged the recent acquisition.”
Source: Sports Techie