On August 2, the French Professional football league, Ligue 1 announced on the Chinese social network Sina Weibo that they have recruited former Chinese professional swimmer Ning Zetao as the league’s brand ambassador in China.
As a swimmer, Ning Zetao is a former 100 meter freestyle gold medalist at the FINA World Championships in 2015, and is the Asian record-holder of the men’s 100 meter freestyle. Because of his achievements in swimming, Ning has attracted a lot of fans, but not many know that when he was a kid, Ning initially started out training as a footballer. Since retiring last March, Ning has made the promotion of football as the next chapter in his career.
Ligue 1, one of the hugely successful football leagues in Europe, has in recent years focused on the China market. In 2017 Ligue 1 opened a China office, and their matches have been broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) and PP Sports channels, improving their media coverage, brand influence and fanbase. The broadcasting of Ligue 1 matches on CCTV recorded a total viewership of 100 million people last year.
Even though Ligue 1 has seen a great increase in their promotion, the French league is determined to further increase their influence in China, with the launch of football communication programs between France and China and the development of youth football training in China being some of the ways they are attempting to achieve their goal. Therefore, Ligue 1 has decided to work together with Ning to help promote French football in China, introduce a French youth player training system in China, and encourage more Chinese kids to play football.
Reference: Sina Weibo
Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick