AC Milan’s CEO for China and Borussia Dortmund’s Head of China have both confirmed their attendance for the upcoming Soccerex China in Zhuhai, April 17/18, 2018.
Marcus Kam of Milan and Benjamin Wahl of Dortmund both bring over 10 years experience in working within the Sports market with Marcus having worked at Adidas China and Benjamin previously been at Bayer Leverkusen. They will be speaking on the panel ‘Understanding & Engaging Chinese fans’ which will look to how clubs and brands can connect with their Chinese audiences.
Marcus Kam has spent the last decade working with sports brands in the Chinese market, with roles at Adidas China as Director of Sports Marketing and Managing Director for Adidas Badminton where he oversaw sales and marketing, operations, design and development and sourcing for Pacific Royal Development Holdings Limited, the exclusive global licensee of Adidas badminton. Marcus brings extensive knowledge of the Chinese sports markets that these European clubs looking to break into the Chinese market crave. This has led him to the role of CEO for AC Milan in China where the club has offices where they can, like Borussia Dortmund, gain a share of the Chinese football supporter’s fandom.
AC Milan were taken over by Chinese investors last year and have since been on a mission to get back to the top of European football. Using their Chinese influence the aim is to gain followers in the red state and create some commercial ties in which to boost profits which can be spent on transfers for world class talent leading them back to the top.
Borussia Dortmund meanwhile, Bundesliga stalwarts are part of the league with the most digital presence in China. This is clear when you see they launched a live stream during their pre-season tour there to around 500,000 people which gained a real following.
Benjamin Wahl on the other hand brings with him 10 years of working within football as in 2008 he became Vice CIO at Bayer Leverkusen a role which led him to look into software solutions in the areas of Ticketing, Accreditation, Team analysis, Football-school, Event Management and IT Security. Fan engagement becomes a priority in this role as there is a balance of extracting fan information whilst providing a top-tier level of fan involvement for followers of the club. In 2016 Benjamin was tasked with coordinating Leverkusen’s entry into the Chinese markets. This ultimately led him to his latest role at Borussia Dortmund as Head of China, where since his appointment Dortmund have opened an office in Shanghai which Benjamin will oversee as they look to captivate the country’s massive audience.
This session will give audience members information on the most effective paths and marketing techniques to attract Chinese fans and best practices to communicate with them. Currently, Borussia Dortmund have a Chinese language website and run a three man team in Shanghai, using this as a base for all their Chinese communications.
Additionally Benjamin and Marcus will discuss whether domestic tournaments will out favour the current foreign tournaments. Due to the large investments in foreign imports to the CSL amongst a host of other factors the popularity of the league has risen by over 150% in the last 10 years increasing from 10,000 to 25,000 average attendance at a game. However with many pre-season tournaments taken place in China there’s a battle between European and Chinese clubs to win over fans support, although in many cases Chinese fans support a CSL club in Asia and a different club in Europe.
With a population of over 1.37billion and a rapidly growing passion for the game, China offers huge potential in terms of fan bases, and fan related revenues. It also offers a variety of complexities for stakeholders to navigate, with “immature” fans relationships common place that are not as deeply rooted with clubs as they are in traditional football markets, which are often based on individual player’s involvement and which are not limited to one club. Understanding the favourite media platforms and consumer behaviour of Chinese fans is therefore crucial for football clubs, broadcasters, media and sponsors alike to generate new business in the region.
The initial conference programme for Soccerex China 2018 is now live and with the first batch of speakers set to be announced in January.
For more information on Soccerex China 2018 and to subscribe to our event updates, please go to www.soccerex.com/china .