The National Football League (NFL) announced today that it has entered a strategic partnership agreement with Sina Weibo, one of the largest social media platforms in China.
In addition to the six (6) regular season games streamed the past couple weekends, Sina Weibo will livestream in China the final Sunday Night Football game in Week 17, three (3) playoff games and the Super Bowl.
"We are glad to launch this strategic partnership with the NFL," said Zhang Zhe, head of Sina Weibo Sports. "We look forward to helping the NFL grow their Chinese market and explore more commercial opportunities, while also providing our Weibo users with a better opportunity to watch and quickly share LIVE games and highlights. We strongly believe that social media is a core platform to promote and consume domestic and international sports events. Sports + Social will become a key industry driver."
"Sina Weibo is an excellent partner for the NFL as we engage fans across the Chinese Mainland. We are excited about working with Sina Weibo to stream NFL games to millions of fans. We're confident this will be a valuable long-term partnership for the NFL and our sponsors in China," said Richard Young, NFL China Managing Director.
Sina Weibo is one of the most popular sites in China with 132 million daily active users (DAU), 297 million monthly active users (MAU) and a market penetration similar to that of Twitter and YouTube in the United States. On average, 100 million messages are posted each day on Sina Weibo.
The NFL now has over 1.5 million online viewers across China each week and viewership continues to grow. Additionally on average there are over 5 million views of NFL clips in China each week. Many people watch the games played early in the morning via "in game" video clips. In addition to live streaming NFL games, Sina will also have rights to non-game video-on-demand (VOD) clips, highlights, and other NFL video content, including Top 10 performances of the week, Top 5 Runs and Catches, etc.
With this partnership, the NFL has further extended its digital presence in China, making the most valuable content in sports and entertainment even more accessible for Chinese users across multiple digital platforms.
About the National Football League (NFL)
*Founded in 1920, the National Football League (NFL) has been called "one of America's best-run businesses" and is admired for its structure, core values and innovative policies that promote athletic competition at the highest level. With 32 teams located across the United States, the NFL is the #1 sports league in America, outranking the NBA (basketball), MLB (baseball) and NHL (hockey) combined as the people's favorite. *
NFL content has never been more popular across the U.S. media landscape. According to the Nielsen Company, 199 million people tuned into the 2015 NFL regular season representing 78 percent of all television homes and 67 percent of potential viewers in the U.S. NFL games accounted for the top 25 and 46 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming in 2015. The NFL's championship game, the Super Bowl, is the most-watched program in US TV history and has also become a popular international sports event broadcast in more than 170 countries and territories and in nearly 25 languages.
About NFL China
NFL China was established in Beijing in October 2007, demonstrating the NFL's long-term commitment to China and is a significant milestone in the NFL's continuing effort to promote its game worldwide. In China, the NFL aims to develop its fan base, increasing fan avidity and passion for the game through strategic cooperation with national and regional media partners, and focused marketing efforts around flag football development and experiential fan events. Kantar-CSM China research shows that there are over 19 million people interested in the NFL in China, predominantly in the Tier 1 cities. Of these 19 million, there are approximately 1 million avid NFL fans. The NFL fan base in China has grown 1087 percent over the past 5 years and research shows that the NFL logo is well recognized and is strongly associated with quality and authenticity.