Soccerex China Conference Concept

25 October 2017 |
Expert Insight for Football Business in China

Soccerex China will deliver a high level conference programme showcasing international and local market expertise across a range of topics relating to the growth of the global game in China. Working with an advisory board of regional and international experts, the programme is being developed to both support the needs of China’s national football reform plan and to deliver against the business objectives of the international football community, thereby creating a global platform for football business in China. The programme will be split across two facilities and will deliver over 18 hours of exclusive business insight.

Conference Programme


Big Data and the future transformation of football


Have no doubt about it, over the past decade, the collection and analysis of “Big Data” has radically transformed the football landscape. Whether through enabling clubs to better understand their fans and deliver a more personalised experience or allowing them to record and compare hundreds of player data points — and, in so doing, better evaluate and improve performance — Big Data has become a mainstay of the way football clubs and businesses operate. But where will Big Data take the industry next? What technological advancements will further the progression of its impact on players, teams and of course the fans. At Soccerex China, technology experts will evaluate the impact of Big Data on football and debate its potential to transform the game.


Striking a balance - domestic football growth vs. the needs of the national team


A strong domestic league is often seen as a prerequisite of a having a successful national team. In most cases this domestic strength is created by gathering better players, creating better teams and in turn delivering a more exciting product for the fans, broadcasters and sponsors. Better players can be developed “in house” through academies and coaching programmes or, as we are increasingly seeing in the modern, globalized market, they can be purchased from other territories. It can be argued that the influx of foreign talents that is common place in almost every league in the world helps raise the standards of performance for the young players coming through. It can also be argued that this same influx stifles the opportunity for young players with their progression pathways blocked by cheaper foreign alternatives. How do you strike a balance between these two important aspects of football growth in any country? How do the different stakeholders involved need to collaborate? At Soccerex China, senior league and FA figures will be joined by performance specialists to analyse the priorities involved and how a balance can best be struck to serve the interests of all parties.


Chinese investment in global sport


Whether through establishing partnerships with major governing bodies like FIFA and IOC or the purchase of globally renowned sporting properties such as football clubs, Chinese brands and investment funds are giving the country a seat at the top table of the sports industry. On the one hand they are exploiting the promotional and commercial benefits that sports investments can offer; promoting their brands to bigger audiences and generating huge returns in growing markets. On the other, they are creating real influence for China across the sporting spectrum and generating soft power on a global scale. Here we will gather a mix of Chinese brands, investors and finance experts to evaluate the impact of Chinese investment in sport, the opportunities and challenges for those involved and the ramifications for China and its domestic sports industry.


How European Clubs can help football’s growth in China


The covetous eyes of Europe’s football elite are increasingly looking towards China and the huge, passionate fanbases that exist there as they looking to expand their international reach. Pre-season tours and local partnerships in the country have become common place as clubs look to secure a foothold in the market but with what impact on the growth of a game in China? If clubs are to develop lasting relationships with local fans they need to be maintaining a presence and supporting communities beyond the odd friendly match.  They have a real opportunity – and responsibility - to be part of the game’s growth in this blossoming market if they engage fans and communities in the right way. At the Forum a combination of European football clubs and regional stakeholders will assess the current activities of clubs in China and what the best approach is to ensure lasting benefits for all parties.


Building Sport Cities


Imagine a whole city based around a sporting franchise: a city that allowed you to connect with your favourite team or team/s all year round, without travelling, through a range of branded sporting facilities, restaurants and retail opportunities. Sounds like every fans dream right? Well, this dream is fast becoming a reality in China with real estate companies, provinces and rights holders all collaborating to build new cities that put sport and sporting teams at the heart of the communities. These new cities will provide fantastic facilities for residents and an unparalleled opportunity for sporting franchises to embed themselves in Chinese communities. At Soccerex China you will get the low down on this phenomenon and the business opportunities involved.


Good Governance for a Good Game - the principles of good governance in football management


In order to provide the foundation for an industry to grow, professional organisation is needed at all levels, based on principles of good governance such as integrity, transparency and accountability. Football is no different and although we have seen issues in recent times, particularly in territories where the professionalism of the industry is in its infancy, we are increasingly seeing a willingness to ensure that the principles of good governance are adhered to. But what does the practical application and policing of these principles across football’s different stakeholder groups look like? What regulations need to be put in place and what do governing bodies need to do to enforce them? We will bring together a group of legal and business experts to assess the principles of good governance in football and how they should be applied by the different businesses, governing bodies and rights holders involved.

Focus on Football Development

From establishing better facilities and management structures to improving participation numbers, health benefits and ultimately the nurturing of elite talent, football development is at the heart of each stage of China’s National Football Reform plan. At Soccerex China we will have a dedicated stream of content targeting the different aspects of football development, showcasing the needs of the local market and providing invaluable international insight and expertise to ensure they meet their goals. Across multiple sessions, the subjects to be addressed include:

  • Grassroots & academies
  • Football & education
  • Sustainable football facilities
  • Coach development
  • Role of technology in improving performance
  • Creating social change through football
Understanding and engaging Chinese Fans


With a population of over 1.37 bn 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 deep 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. In recent times, we have seen major football leagues changing match schedules to attract the Chinese audiences and setting up regional offices but are these the best ways to engage with the fans? With the great growth of the Chinese Super League in recent times, will Chinese fans continue to watch foreign tournaments like they used to? At Soccerex, Chinese media companies and agencies will explain the best way to attract Chinese fans and communicate with them.




For brands, media, and entertainment companies, eSports provide a chance to connect with digital natives and millennials who grew up playing games and watching game content, many of which learned about football and grew their love for a club through video games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer. This is particularly true in China, a country with over 200m eSports fans and some of the best eSport teams, which has seen billions of dollars invested to grow the market. ESports is big business and has resulted in many football leagues now having parallel eSports competitions and why FIFA set up an Interactive World Cup. What is the best way for clubs to connect with the eSports market? Do they need to hire players for an eSports team? Should leagues and federations organize their own competitions or partner with eSports specialists? At Soccerex China, leading eSports experts will explain this phenomenon and look at the best way for football rights holders to capitalize the opportunities of this exciting new sector.


Lessons for League Success


Leagues are the bedrock of domestic football, providing a collective structure and commercial organisation to the club game in any country.  While there is clearly a financial gulf between the established European leagues and those in other nations around the world, the professional principles upon which they are established are the same world over and offer lessons to any league looking to improve their domestic product. Countries like India and China, who have taken big steps in developing their domestic leagues, have also sought input and advice from leagues like the Premier League, through knowledge sharing agreements that allow them to help shape their growth in a sustainable way. What are the best lessons that can be learnt from Europe’s elite leagues? How can league’s best collaborate without seeing their own domestic fanbases eroded by the established competitions? At Soccerex China, a mix of regional and international league chiefs will reveal their lessons for league success and look at the best way to develop mutually beneficial partnerships.


Sporting Heroes


They are the modern day heroes – the supermen and women you turn to once you stop believing in the ones in capes. Through their skill and endeavour they find a place in people’s hearts, creating moments through their sporting achievements that inspire the next generation and create cherished memories for many more. But who are the heroes’ heroes? Who inspired them to go on and forge the careers they have? In this special session we will gather a panel of sporting legends to look at who their heroes were both, on and off the pitch, why they were so special to them and how they dealt with the pressure of being looked up to by fans in their careers.


Future of Broadcasting



We are experiencing a global clash between traditional broadcasters and new media. Free-to-air channels and cable TV providers are immersed in bidding wars for football’s most valuable competitions’ rights in a market disrupted by e-commerce, quad players, sport networks and social media companies. Does any player have the winning formula? Is competition from broadcasters as intense in China? With over 500 million Chinese football fans following the Chinese Super League online, there is no question that the future of broadcasting in China will be digital. Which online players can foreign major leagues partner with to maximize their exposure? Are there opportunities for international broadcasters to enter the Chinese market and can Chinese broadcasters expand to the rest of the world? At Soccerex, broadcasting experts from China and other leading markets will share their views about the current landscape and the future of broadcasting.


Major events: from Bidding to Legacy



With the Olympic Games awarded to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028, it is now the turn for FIFA to decide where the 2026 and 2030 World Cups will take place. The decision for 2026 will be made in June 2018 between Morocco and the joint USA, Canada and Mexico bid. For 2030, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay have officially confirmed a joint bid, and China and England have publicly shown their interest. For these bidding nations – and those considering bidding for any international tournament – the requirements of each stage of delivery need to be carefully considered, in particular, will the tournament leave a meaningful and sustainable economic and social legacy to the development of football in the country. What are these requirements and how does a nation best communicate their suitability to fulfill them? How do you best plan for a lasting legacy? At Soccerex, decision makers and major event organizers will provide answers and share their experience in bidding for and hosting mega sporting events.   

Have you got something to add?

Presentation slots can be secured within the Soccerex China Conference Programme for organisations who can add value around the topics outlined above. If you would like to discuss a topic and the presentation opportunities available please contact [email protected] or call +44 20 8987 5522.

For more information on Soccerex China please click here

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