Confused as to why Chinese characters are circulating the stadiums of EURO matches? Many Chinese companies have paid for advertising posters at UEFA’s EURO 2020 to reach the country’s vast fanbase.
Football has become one of the most popular sports in China since it was introduced to the country in the early 20th century. The pandemic has contributed to a growing enthusiasm for the sport. As a result, many teams and players have used the opportunity to engage with their fans by launching on Chinese social media platforms.
So it’s no surprise that the EURO 2020 tournament has attracted a huge viewership in China. The number of views in China is predicted to exceed 2 billion, creating a record high for the tournament. The hashtag “#2020 Euro” (#2020欧洲杯#) hit 1.13 billion views on Weibo, and many Chinese fans are willing to stay up late or get up early to watch the matches.
Among the 12 top sponsors announced on UEFA’s official website are four Chinese companies: Hisense, Alipay, Vivo, and ByteDance-owned TikTok. Chinese companies account for one-third of the top sponsors for the EUROs, making it the ‘top sponsor country’.
While TikTok is a global sponsor of the competition, its Chinese counterpart, Douyin, is also involved as an official partner in China. The account “UEFA European Cup” has been launched on the short video platform to share matches with Chinese fans.
AntChain, the blockchain arm of Ant Group and Alipay, signed a five-year global partnership with UEFA to digitally transform the football industry. AntChain has produced a blockchain trophy for the tournament which will be awarded to the top three players in the field and is formed in the shape of the Chinese character 支, which means ‘payment’ or ‘support’.
The first Chinese sponsor of the EUROs was electronics firm Hisense, which signed for two tournaments ahead of the 2016 event. Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo agreed on a two-tournament deal for EURO 2020 and 2024 to add to its existing sponsorship with FIFA for two World Cups.