Frisbee, flag football among niche sports to gain traction in China as increasingly popular outdoor activities

(People's Daily Online) 15:43, July 06, 2022

Starting last year, playing frisbee has emerged as a popular sport across China. Nowadays, the market size for the sport, which originated in the 1940s, has surpassed 85 million yuan ($12.69 million) in China, and has kept expanding vigorously.

Qiu Xin is a frisbee enthusiast from Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province. After playing frisbee for the first time in April 2022, the woman said that she now participates in the game at least once a week.

The Mobius Frisbee Club in Nanjing was founded on March 30, 2022. In the first three months after its establishment, the club had already attracted 2,500 people to join it.

(Xinmin Evening News/Li Mingkun)

“We have six WeChat groups, not to mention chat groups on other messaging platforms. Each week, we will organize three to four games for our members. Tickets for the games are always hard to get and the seats are often fully booked. We once received nearly 150 people during one day of games, which reached the upper limit of the total reception capacity for the three fields that we rented out for the games,” said Chen Zixiang, founder of the club.

Aside from frisbee, other previously lesser-known sports, including flag football, paddle tennis and lacrosse, have also been gaining traction in China.

A report on the top 10 lifestyle trends in China in 2022 published by Xiaohongshu, an Instagram-like Chinese fashion and lifestyle sharing platform, has indicated that the search volume for “frisbee” on the platform increased by about 24 times year-on-year. In addition, more than 20,000 articles introducing flag football have been published on the platform.

According to some of the participants playing these kinds of niche sports, they are not difficult to learn, are affordable and can help participants to reach their personal fitness goals.

Located in Nanjing, a sports club named the “Nanjing Bulldogs Football” now has 1,300 members.

“In April 2022, the National Football League, the largest professional American football league in the world, opened an account on Chinese social media and collaborated with Xiaohongshu to promote flag football. Thanks to this, the platform has boosted traffic in support of our business,” said a man surnamed Bian, who is one of the founders of the Nanjing Bulldogs Football club. Bian said that as a result of this support, the percentage of people joining the club through online channels has risen to a new high level.

“The popularity of these niche sports is attributable to the fact that these sports can satisfy the entertainment needs of young people who are living in cities and promote social interactions between them,” said Feng Rao, head of tourism research at Mafengwo, an online travel platform.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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