Digital Transformation

Chinese football fans most digitally engaged and biggest supporters of women’s football


By Danielle Long | Asia Pacific Correspondent

April 10, 2019 | 4 min read

Chinese football fans have beat out fans in UK, Brazil and the USA to prove they are the most digitally engaged, according to research by COPA90.

Chinese Super League

Chinese Super League is growing in popularity with China's football fans

The findings, part of the global The Modern Football Fan report, revealed Chinese fans are the most active on social media, with 57% posting memes, video clips and images online, compared to an average of 40% across the other countries surveyed.

The Chinese fans are also the most active on forums and in group chats, with 43% chatting to other fans, well ahead of the USA (29%), UK (31%), and Brazil (38%). However, while Chinese fans are mad for football-related computer games, with more than half (52%) of fans playing games, they fall just behind Brazil (54%) although still ahead of the UK (36%) and USA (35%).

The report also highlighted the unique support culture among China’s football fans, who are less tribal and more likely to support players (32%) rather than clubs, and will also commonly support a second national team (85%) compared to fans in the USA (74%), Brazil (53%) and the UK (33%).

The report comes as football continues to grow in popularity in China, bolstered by increased activity from the European teams and leagues in the market, as well as huge investments by the Chinese Government and brands such as Adidas.

While the English Premier League remains the most popular, attracting 71% of Chinese fans, the growth of the Chinese Super League (CSL) follows closely behind at 53% and average attendance at games has surged 60% to reach 25,000 between 2010 – 2017.

China’s appetite for football does not stop at the men’s competition with 63% of fans planning to watch highlights of the Women’s World Cup this summer, with 56% planning to watch China’s games, and 59% ready to engage with social media content around the tournament

Chinese fans are the most likely to watch women’s football games live online (37%) or highlights (42%) compared to Brazil (25% and 36%), the US (30% and 31%) and the UK (19% and 36%).

The report is based on interviews with more than 2,000 fans in China, UK, US and Brazil aged 16 to 24.

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