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CSL Consumers Report: More than 50% of fans unwilling to pay to watch

By Nong Ruowen Thursday, 31 Aug 2017 18:57

As the top-tier football league in China, the Chinese Super League (CSL) has attracted many professionals and organizations in researching its many fields such as its sports marketing capacity, its sponsorship value and others. However, to some extent, the value of any league depends on its fans. So, what do you know about CSL fans?

In order to get a better overall understanding of its fans, Sike Soccer, a football-related contents App which carries up-to-date soccer news and match streaming in China, conducted a survey among 119,421 CSL fans and have shared their final report to the public. Here are some highlights of the report:


First of all, Sike Soccer released some demographic data of the fans they investigated. They found that the CSL has a really young fan base with 59.68% of these fans aging from 16 to 25. Regarding gender, 90641 fans they investigated are male fans, making up 75.9% of the whole fan group, while the remaining 24.1% are female. 

Then, what CSL-related content are these fans most interested in? 91.06% of these fans see live streaming as the most important feature of the CSL. Further to this, CSL news, data, reports and interviews with players and coaches are also attractive to these fans. As to what teams do they watch, 53.5% of these fans would watch all games involving their home team or favorite teams.

For fans who attend stadiums for the games, the ticket fee would be one of the most important aspects. Among these fans, 40.48% of them feel the ticket price is “quite expensive” for them, while 39.06% feels it‘s at an appropriate price. However, 5.26% of these fans expressed that they would not attend a match unless they got free tickets. 

As to fans watching the CSL games online, what kind of devices they use to watch games might be of valuable information to the CSL stakeholders. In line with the main trend in sports broadcasting, more and more people are inclined to watch matches on their mobile handsets with 83.54% of these fans usually viewing the CSL games on their smartphones, followed by the TV sets and PCs. Conversely, newspapers and radios have faded away because of the changing sports broadcasting industry.

Besides the devices fans use, their attitude towards consumption experience of the league might also be important information to the commercial world.


Advertisement in the league is usually a major part of the sponsorship deals. Then, what kind of advertisement is most acceptable to these fans? Sike Soccer found that 76.83% of these fans saw  “advertisement on the perimeter fences in the stadium” as their most acceptable form of advertisement, followed by “VR advertisement” and “subtitle advertisement”, which was 56.45% and 22.32% respectively. The report also shows that the fans dislike pre-game advertisements.


As to the “most impressive brands” in the CSL, the top 3 are Ping An Insurance (64.25%), which is the title sponsor of the league, Genten Mineral Water (53.46%) and Nike (40.48), followed by China Sports Media, the current media rights holder of the league, and Ford and TAG Heuer. 

However, the results in the “CSL-related merchandise” data is not consistent with the brands’ result. Most of the fans (75.74%) see “mineral water and sports-themed beverage” merchandise as being related to the CSL, while other fans chose “vehicles” (31.82%) and “clothes” (22.81%). 

When the question “how much money would you like to spend watching CSL games”, was put to the fans, the results might not be as optimistic to the league’s rights holders and other stakeholders. Currently, every single CSL game charges 6 yuan (US$0,91) to watch online. Fans can also pay 30 RMB (US$4.6) per month to watch all games taking place in that month, which means they have to spend over 200 RMB (US$30.3) to watch the whole season. 

However, only 4.98% of these fans were willing to pay over 200 RMB for the full-season CSL games, while interestingly 48.65% of the total do not want to pay to download and watch. This is mainly because Chinese fans are used to watching free-to-air broadcast on Satellite TVs, which means the pay-per-view mode still has a long way to go in Chinese market.  

Regarding the football-content lottery, most fans (61.63%) said that they never purchased any lottery tickets. Of those that have bought lottery tickets, 39.47% of them purchased the lottery online, while 30.08% bought them in the lottery outlets. Notably, there is no CSL-related  yet, but 40.72% of fans hope a CSL lottery will be launched, while 39.08% had no opinion. 


In summary, it can be implied that CSL fans are a young group in which the idea of “pay-per-view”  is starting to take off and becoming gradually accepted in China. The complete transformation from “free viewing” to “pay-per-view” will take time in China, but it does not mean that there are no ways to increase the commercial value of the league. By understanding the fans’ needs and demands, there will always be a way to get what you want.  

Source: sohu

Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick

Tags: CSL


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