Report: Still a market for ManU tours to China

Football fans in China "are as keen as ever to watch Manchester United’s international stars play in their country", according to new research by Birkbeck, University of London, quoted by Sports Business. According to Dr Simon Chadwick of Birkbeck’s sport business research team, “the promise of seeing top stars in action remains the most important factor influencing Chinese fan’s support for United”.

He added that it was important that the fans saw the players at their best. “If they go to watch top performers in action, Chinese fans want to see them perform well.”

Almost 1,200 supporters were questioned before United’s game with Beijing erleir this year and the research also shows how seriously Chinese fans take these games. Many indicated they were at the game in anticipation of Beijing claiming a shock win. The study was undertaken by a team of Chinese researchers on behalf of Birkbeck, working in cooperation with the Chinese Football Association and the Beijing Hyundai Supporters Trust.

“The findings clearly suggest there will be further opportunities in the future for tours to China, and for the development of United’s commercial activities in Asia,” Dr Chadwick said. And “until their teams can regularly beat those from the Premier League, China’s love affair with Manchester United looks set to continue.”