Sam Pearson has spent the last eight years working in the Chinese sports industry, most recently in the role of Senior Manager, Marketing Solutions Asia Pacific for the WTA, after previous stints with Ruder Finn and OCEANS Sports Marketing . He returns home to Wellington, New Zealand, to take up a position as Regional Sales & Marketing Manager for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. Shortly before leaving China, Pearson spoke to China Sports Insider about the current state of the sports industry, as well as the changes he’s witnessed, the future of men’s and women’s tennis in China – and being linked to a tennis star in China’s gossip pages.
Wednesday’s Asian Cup draw paired China with Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Given those countries’ reputations, expect global headlines about a literal Group of Death:
- China – estimated to execute far more people than the rest of the world combined
- Saudi Arabia – no. 4 in the global list with 79 executions in 2013
- Uzbekistan – has what the IHF called a “wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights”, with the current government blamed for massacring hundreds in 2005. Continue reading China’s Group Of Death
Guangzhou Evergrande’s recent Asian Champions League victory gave Chinese soccer fans something to smile about again, even if the national team – comprised of many of those same Evergrande players – has yet to follow suit.
The ACL win gave Guangzhou entry into this year’s FIFA Club World Cup – a tournament in which, essentially, the UEFA Champions League winners get another meaningless trophy. Continue reading Rare FIFA wisdom for Chinese soccer
Xi Jinping likes his soccer. So much so, in fact, that the game put him out of action for two weeks last year while he was playing with his staff, sparking rumors of a mysterious disappearance, according to the South China Morning Post. He also likes to talk about the beautiful game: way before his “Chinese Dream” became de rigeur, he had a soccer dream – that China would first qualify for, then host, and finally win, the World Cup.
Sina Weibo welcomes Manchester United
Manchester United finally – finally – have an official Sina Weibo page here after a shocking lack of presence here, filled largely by fan pages. For years, the powers that be at Old Trafford were arrogant enough to think that everyone would simply go to the team’s homepage, and the club has now also launched a Twitter page for the first time (@ManUtd). The site now has more than 100,000 followers (though always take Sina Weibo numbers with a sack of salt), as compared to close to four times that amount on Twitter. Nothing of particular note is up yet on the Weibo site – so far just a few pictures and headlines from their Asian Tour – but at least it’s a step in the right direction in trying to connect with Chinese fans.
The 99% claim has popped up twice in recent days in the context of Chinese sports, and both times there are less than convincing arguments.
Firstly, a Shanghai Shenhua club lawyer told Sina in reference to Didier Drogba’s contested move to Galatasaray in Turkey:
“We now have evidence which we believe will give Shenhua a 99% chance of winning a lawsuit at FIFA.”
Unnamed legal sources tend to have a habit of exaggeration because they are anonymous –> untraceable –> unaccountable. But I’m pretty sure – 99% sure in fact – that Drogba’s own legal team would have made sure there is a water tight case for breach of contract by Shenhua (presumably for unpaid wages) before he moved to another club.