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Premier League Series(I):TV broadcasts, media exposure and fandom of EPL in China

By Yutang Sports 27 Jul 2015

Super Sports, who are the current rights holders of the English Premier League (EPL) in mainland China and Macau until 2018, held a 2015/2016 EPL season marketing workshop in Shanghai last Saturday where delegations from top EPL clubs, sports media administratiors and senior sports marketers assembled to discuss the future developmental path of EPL. Yutang Sports, as the exclusive marketing partner of the campaign, also took part in the forum and played an impressive role by presenting the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier League Chinese TV Market Report.

The brand equity of EPL has been so significant that many give credit to the commercial value of EPL for the success of the league. Here are a few numbers to demonstrate just how substantial the commercial value of EPL has been. Two EPL clubs secured 2 out of the world’s top 3 shirt  sponsorship deals ahead of the upcoming season. Manchester United’s £47m deal with American carmakers Chevrolet ranks 1st with Chelsea FC’s £40m a year deal with Yokohama Rubber coming in at number 3. In addition, the EPL, followed by the Bundesliga with an income of £2.26bn, raked in revenues of £3.26bn in the 2013/2014 campaign, marking it as the top income earner among football leagues.

So how has the EPL grown into such a global money-generating brand? Primarily, the majority of revenues are generated from sponsorships, broadcast revenue distribution and ticket sales. However it’s the supporters who play a crucial role in generating the revenues as they not only pay to attend matches directly but also are a big appeal for sponsors and broadcasters. Therefore, it is the supporters that have built up the brand equity of EPL.

The number of fans who claim to be interested in EPL is around 1.2 billion across the world while the number of TV viewers of EPL has reached 4.2 billion. In China, around 170 million people are attracted by EPL, making up 51 percent of overall supporters of the sport in China. In terms of TV broadcast, EPL had the longest airtime, 4768 hours, in the 2014/2015 season, making it the most broadcasted football league among the five major European football leagues in China. Although the EPL was not screened live on Chinese satellite TV channels, its ratings still exceeded that of others on local sports channels. Additionally, the EPL has the most followers (2.36 million) on Sina Weibo, a social media platform similar to Twitter, followed by the Bundesliga which has the second largest fan base (0.91m followers) on Chinese social media. When it comes to clubs, six EPL clubs have been listed in the Top10 most followed football clubs on Chinese social media, with the Manchester duo of Manchester United (8.82 million) and Manchester City (8.29 million) taking the leading positions.

Overall, the EPL is the world’s premier football league no matter whether it’s from the perspective of TV coverage or social media presence. Because of the large number of supporters and viewers of the EPL in the Chinese market, the strengthening of the Premier League’s football brand provides unlimited imagination.

Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick

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