Chelsea have become the first Premier League club to form a strategic partnership with Chinese social media platform, Weibo.
As of January, Weibo had 520 million active users and Chelsea has more than eight million followers on the Sina-owned digital platform. Exclusive content will be brought to fans in China, shared on a daily basis.
As part of the deal, Chelsea have granted access to a Chinese fan reporter into the infamous Cobham training centre to film specifically and exclusively, providing content for the fanbase inside of China, as well as launching Chelsea FC China TV.
The west-London club were the fastest growing team in Europe on Weibo last season, with only Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona having more followers.
Chelsea Chief Executive, Guy Laurence said: “Delivering high quality, quick-to-market content and bringing our Chinese fans closer to the club are two key aims of Chelsea’s China strategy.
“Through this strategic partnership with Weibo, we will be able to grow our offering of original and China-specific content across the country.”
China has become a valuable market for Chelsea, being the first European club to bring a pre-match show exclusive to Chinese fans.
Zhan Sheng, general manager of Sina Sports added: “Having already successfully worked with Chelsea on a number of projects, Weibo and Chelsea FC will continue to collaborate further. The key areas of our focus moving forward will be on delivering bespoke multimedia content formats, operating fan communities, as well as new and upgraded commercialisation models.
“Weibo has continued to increase its investment and support in the sports industry since the inception of its vertical sports platform. With an increased impact on the sports industry in recent years, Weibo has now formed a comprehensive ecosystem linking event organisations, clubs, athletes, media, and key opinion leaders (KOLs).
It’s a unique style of social media communication on Weibo that will provide Chelsea FC with the platform to increase fan participation and commercial monetisation.”
The partnership comes as the sporting world unites in their efforts to tap into the potentially lucrative Asian sports market, namely, European football leagues and teams who have seen an increase in interest from fans across the continent.
Author: Charlie Farmer