THE Port Adelaide Football Club and the world’s largest television network, China Central Television (CCTV) have reached a landmark agreement to broadcast AFL throughout China.
The agreement will see Port Adelaide’s upcoming home games against Essendon in Round 3 and Geelong in Round 5 broadcast on CCTV, with the latter televised live.
The partnership also includes a 25-week documentary series titled The AFL Show co-produced by Port Adelaide and 57 Films and funded by the South Australian State Government to raise the profile of South Australia in China.
The AFL Show, which debuted last night, is a 30-minute program that will be screened every Saturday night.
The program will showcase highlights of Port Adelaide’s game each week, highlights and scores from other games across the weekend and a regular segment on Port Adelaide’s international recruit Chen Shaoliang who will provide a unique insight into Port Adelaide, the AFL and living in South Australia.
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas acknowledged that this was an historic achievement for Port Adelaide and the AFL.
“This is the first time that our great game of AFL will be shown on CCTV, the world’s biggest television network, and it could be the moment that we reflect on in twenty years’ time and say 'that’s when China first fell in love with our great game',” Mr Thomas said.
“For over two years we have been working closely on engaging with China and a range of their key stakeholders and this agreement with CCTV is a culmination of all that work.
“We are proud to be the AFL’s team in China and the AFL have been very supportive in this regard.”
Port Adelaide general manager for China and Government relations Andrew Hunter said this partnership was another very significant step not just for Port Adelaide and the AFL, but for diplomatic relationships between Australia and China.
“Given CCTV is controlled by China’s central government the content screened on their network goes through a strict process of approval as it must be deemed reputable and of national interest. For an agreement to be reached to screen AFL content is therefore a massive tick for both Port Adelaide and AFL and it very much legitimises our indigenous game in the eyes of their audience,” Mr Hunter said.
“During our discussions over the last six months CCTV have gained an understanding of Port Adelaide and the AFL in general and they are very excited about the prospect of broadcasting football content to their mass audience.
“The team at CCTV are particularly fascinated by Chen’s story, his passion for Port Adelaide and his dream to one day play AFL.”
After meeting with CCTV management, Mr Thomas expects an audience of between one and two million for each documentary and broadcast game.
“Given China has a population of over one billion people CCTV has an extraordinary reach. We anticipate our weekly documentary show and broadcast games will attract an audience of nearly two million given they’ll be screened in prime time,” Mr Thomas said.
“Allowing for this, our games against Essendon and Geelong will be the most watched home and away games in AFL history which is a great result for our entire club and corporate partners.
“We are confident this figure will grow once the Chinese audience gains a greater understanding of our game and the AFL competition in general.”
The AFL Show debuted last night on CCTV and it can be viewed with English translation above.
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