NFL set to touch down in China

09:12, February 02, 2010      

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The United States' most popular sport, the National Football League (NFL), plans to stage games in China in the coming years, a senior NFL official here said yesterday.

"The development of high-class stadiums in big Chinese cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai has laid a solid foundation for us to bring games here," said Michael Stokes, managing director of NFL China.

While Stokes did not reveal specific details about any forthcoming games, he said they would be part of the NFL's strategy to cultivate the Chinese market.

"We will first introduce flag football leagues on Chinese university campuses and weekly viewing parties at sports bars to offer exciting touch points to potential fans," Stokes said.

Flag football leagues, which give US youngsters the chance to emulate their NFL heroes, will be staged at Guangzhou University in April, according to Stokes.

"We are aiming to create Chinese fans and are focusing on males aged 18-30," he said.

Stokes said the upcoming Guangzhou Asian Games, which will include American football, would also help develop Chinese interest in the sport.

The NFL has launched several initiatives to promote the game in China since it set up an office in Beijing two years ago.

Zhang Jingzhi, general manager of Molson Coors China, said his company would work closely with the NFL to boost the sport in China.

"We will, if everything is well prepared, help introduce NFL games - or even the popular Super Bowl, to China," Zhang said.

Coors, which signed a three-year cooperative agreement with the NFL in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, yesterday will sponsor all NFL activities in China, Zhang said.

He said one of the company's aims was to help develop Chinese players.

Source: China Daily
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