The story you’ve already heard a thousand times: Every major pro sports league in the world is dying to emulate the success of the NBA in marketing its sport to the Chinese masses. A quick cross-section of that group: ice hockey, baseball, Australian rules football, NFL (American) football, and rugby. To name just a few.
The story you’ve heard a few times in the last few weeks: The New York Yankees have signed two Chinese players, after having made the first inroads of any MLB team in getting into China and opening up an office there.
The story the Associated Press is reporting today (that you’ve heard a thousand times with various sports): building a fan base is going to be a challenge, because the Chinese don’t “get” baseball. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea? A lock for baseball popularity. The most populous nation on earth? Not so much…at least, not yet.
Lack of interest hurts baseball in China (The AP, via the New York Times)
You can pretty much take it to the bank: between now and August 2008, there will be oodles of Olympic updates.
Major League Baseball Helping China’s Baseball Team: MLB.com reports on China’s national men’s baseball team which has been training in the United States for the last three weeks in preparation for, you guessed it, 2008. After training together and playing minor league teams, the Chinese team will disperse to train directly with several minor league teams to experience professional-level baseball training. Doubtful that Ichiro’s immediate successor as Asia’s most famous major leaguer is going to hail from Beijing anytime soon…but with Taiwan already a baseball powerhouse, can the mainland really be that far behind?
China at World Cross Country: World cross isn’t China’s forte – that honor belongs to the Kenyans and Ethiopians – but that didn’t keep China from sending a contingent of athletes to last weekend’s annual event, held in Mombasa, Kenya for the first time.
BOCOG Media Kits to NOCs: According to the China Daily, BOCOG has distributed Olympic media kits to the over 200 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) for the Beijing Olympics.