Chinese fandom and potential marketing strategies for expanding the market for American professional sports into China

Kaplan, Sam; Langdon, Su
October 2012
International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship;Oct2012, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p7
Academic Journal
As the global economy expands, it would seem to be in the interests of the major professional sport leagues of the US to move into new markets, especially China, one of the fastest growing and largest in the world. In order to sell effectively in this market, it is vital to gain an understanding of the potential fan base. To explore national differences in fandom, a survey was completed by sports fans in both China and the US to assess which sports participants followed and which media they used, to identify fan motives and their feelings about expansion. This study determined that there are clear differences between Chinese and Americans. While many of the Chinese were fans of American sports, they tended to follow individual athletes rather than teams and had relatively low fan identity but high levels of fan motivation. Motives also varied by country, with aesthetics and affiliation the primary motives among the Chinese sample. These distinctions can be utilised to create marketing strategies.


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