Arena football the latest pro sport to hit China


There was a bit of football history made over in China over the last 24 hours. 

It was the debut week of the China Arena Football League. This league, which has six teams, kicked off the first week of its “super series” in Beijing. The way it is set up is rather unusual in that one venue will host all the games for a particular week, and then the schedule rotates among the other five cities. (It’s sort of similar to the way Sevens Rugby operates, rotating among a number of venues.) The locales are Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai.

I couldn’t find much news about the league online except this Time article questioning whether any Chinese will care. Actually, even the Americans don’t care about this brand of football — the indoor brand. Still, this league looks like a solid effort based on what I see of it.

These are interesting times for sports fans in China. Of course, Beijing just acquired a KHL hockey team that is now into its first season, and the country has had its own major pro basketball league for years. They host an F1 race every year in the spring. And they will be hosting another Olympics again in 2022. Of course, all the major North American and European sports leagues see China as this growing emerging market, and I notice Peyton Manning was in China this week doing his part to promote the NFL there. All in all, it’s exciting stuff happening over there in sports.

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