Almost exactly a year ago, Beijing played host to a dream day of international sports: both Neymar and Kobe were in town with their respective teams, and the Tour of Beijing was wrapping up in glorious sunshine. This year…not so much.
The Chinese are getting up in their millions to watch the World Cup, and as expected Brazilian Neymar is becoming one of the main stories (this piece on Neymar’s China’s strategy is worth another look). But other things are happening too. Here’s a selection of interesting stories from the past few days (the first two of which feature some special China Sports Insider insight!).
China won’t be playing in Brazil – they have appeared at a World Cup just once and failed to score a goal – but millions will stay up late to watch the games – starting this Friday at 4 am when Croatia kicks off against the host nation in São Paulo. Here are 10 things in this year’s World Cup with a Chinese connection. Continue reading The World Cup with Chinese characteristics
This Bloomberg article from yesterday highlighted Tencent’s huge stock market gain – the most in half a year – after a 35% increase in revenue from desktop games and WeChat messaging, while noting that Lionel Messi was hired to promoted WeChat earlier this year. What it failed to mention is that Messi’s Barcelona teammate Neymar has just agreed to join forces off the pitch as well as on it, by becoming another international face of WeChat, known as Weixin (way-SHEEN) in China.
Today is one of those rare sports days in the Chinese capital, especially given that it’s a Tuesday. For those with nothing better to do (and plenty of money), you can spend the day watching the Tour of Beijing, which finishes its fifth and final stage near the Bird’s Nest today. Then head into the stadium itself to see the Brazilian national soccer team play. Leave at half time and jump into your helicopter to head to the west of town in time to catch some of the game between the LA Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at the Mastercard Arena.
Tennis, baseball, both forms of football, badminton, athletics and mahjong all feature in this week’s wrap…
Since I submitted this week Sports Talk column yesterday evening, I’ve seen a fair amount of talk on the same issue of money ruining sports: the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson arguing that Bayern’s UEFA Champions League win kills the dreams of many teams, and Tom Byer lamenting Bayern buying up Dortmund’s players, while Barcelona – another club that supposedly prides itself on its youth development – spends countless millions on Neymar, recently named the world’s Most Marketable athlete.
Here in China, Guangzhou’s – or more specific Evergrande’s – millions are fast making the CSL an annual foregone conclusion. Continue reading Money makes the world go round – but is ruining sports
Pete Davis has written recently at Goal.com about how well Brazilians are doing in the Chinese Super League (representing 29% of all foreign players). In this week’s Sports Talk column, I look at how well the Chinese are doing in Brazil: