Track and field, Football and More

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Basketball, Football, Sports Business, Track and Field/Athletics at 11:53 am by Nicole

Tennis: Zheng Jie and Yan Zi are another step closer to a second Grand Slam title. They defeated Anna Chakvetadze and Elena Vesnina (4-6, 6-2, 6-1) yesterday to advance to the semifinals of the French Open. Their next opponents are the 5th-seeded team of Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama.

Track and Field: The Harry Jerome Track Classic will be held later today in Vancouver, Canada. The meet features a competition between the Canadian and Chinese track and field teams for the Pacific World Cup. The Runner’s Web feature linked above has lots of excellent information about the history of the competition between the two countries.

In Turin, Italy, Ma Ning won the women’s javelin in the IAAF athletics meeting held earlier this week. Ma won the event with a throw of 59.91m. Second place went to Zhara Bani (59.04m). In Florence, Russia beat China and Italy in a three-way meet that saw a young Chinese team getting experience ahead of 2008.

Football: China’s “friendly” against France yesterday wasn’t too friendly to French striker Djibril Cisse. Cisse broke his leg during the match, which will keep him out of the World Cup. Fox Sports Australia (via Agence France Presse) has the story.

With all the hoopla about tomorrow’s start of the men’s World Cup, here’s a reminder for football fans everywhere: don’t forget about the women. The 2007 Women’s World Cup in Football will be held in China from September 10-30. Unlike in the men’s World Cup, the women’s event is extremely strong in China and the host country should be a contender.

The World Cup tour group mess involving a Chinese ticket agency continues, according to the Daily Yomiuri. Steep cancellation fees for airline and hotel reservations will mean no refunds for the 608 people who bought tour packages through Max Air Service in Japan, which was to have received World Cup tickets through China International Sports Travel Corporation.

Basketball: India should follow the “China model” in developing grassroots interest in basketball, according to former NBA player Robert Reid. Zeenews.com (India) is running a story on Reid’s recent trip to a three-day youth basketball camp in India. According to the article, Reid would like to see India focus on developing a team that can place in the top five in the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games – a strategy employed by China to build support for the game. Whatever China did, it sure is working – the China Sports Blog gets many inquiries daily from people who want to know when the NBA finals will be shown on CCTV-5. If India can do for the NBA what China has already done, watch out.

Sports Business: “Cross-media technologies.” That’s the buzzword for all of the marketing around the World Cup that focuses on delivering information content to subscribers through a variety of media, including of course mobile phones and other “mobile” media-delivery devices. Information Society Technologies has a feature story on the ways in which cross-media technologies are being used to market the World Cup.

Havas has launched a sports-marketing arm in China, according to Forbes. Lucien Boyer, CEO of Havas’s sports marketing division, is quoted in the article as saying that he expects China to have the second-largest advertising market in the world within a decade.

2008 Olympics: UPS has signed a memorandum of understanding with BOCOG to provide express delivery services during the Beijing Olympics. Elsewhere in Olympic planning, Beijing is working on responses to any public-health outbreaks that could occur during the Olympics.


Prostitution During the World Cup

Posted in Football, News at 10:11 am by Nicole

One of the ugly underbellies of world-class sport is the proliferation of the sex trade when big events come to town. The concern about forced prostitution during the World Cup isn’t a new topic, but the China Daily is running an AP story about it today, which I felt merited its inclusion at the China Sports Blog. The number of people trafficked for others’ profit around the world is staggering. Here’s hoping that the journalists covering the World Cup keep a close eye on this issue and report it to the moon. Is sports journalism the toy department of the newspaper? Not when it can do good – and this is one time when it surely could, if the credentialed media is brave enough to do it.


China Football News

Posted in Football at 3:00 pm by Nicole

China doesn’t have an entry in this year’s World Cup, but they’ll be playing a “friendly” against a team that does – 1998 World Cup champion France – on Wednesday. Sky Sports has a short news piece on the China-France upcoming match with quotes from French defender Jean Alain-Boumsong, who plays professionally with Newcastle United. ESPNSoccernet also has a short news piece on the upcoming match.

Also in football news: a fascinating commentary on the “subtle” geopolitics of football courtesy of the Taipei Times. My only complaint with this article is that after having lived for nearly 18 months in China, where the World Cup is so big that it’s going to take three CCTV channels to broadcast the matches (the same kind of coverage that’s offered for the Olympics), I don’t think there’s anything “subtle” about football’s geopolitics. Although this article isn’t specifically about Chinese football, there’s a small mention of China-Japan relations and the ways in which it’s expressed on the football field – and in the stands.


China and the World Cup

Posted in Football at 1:37 pm by Nicole

The Associated Press writes about China’s disappointment in not qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. The article highlights many of the woes of China’s national football program, including mismanagement, scandals and the (surprising, given the sport’s popularity in China) lack of a solid grassroots playing tradition that could flood the ranks with talented up-and-comers.

Elsewhere in China’s World Cup dramas, the Daily Yomiuri Online (Japan) reports that a Japanese tour company working with a Chinese sports travel agency has been forced to cancel World Cup tours after the Chinese agency failed to come up with the approximately 4,000 World Cup tickets that had been ordered and paid for by the Japanese company.


Fighting Match Fixing at the World Cup

Posted in Football at 3:29 pm by Nicole

Bloomberg.com is reporting on the use of betting companies during the World Cup in order to stamp out any attempt to fix matches. The article mentions past match-fixing controversies in several countries, including China, and notes that China’s Super League lost its title sponsor in January 2005 after a match-fixing scandal.


Youth Football Exchange

Posted in Football at 5:09 pm by Nicole

Here’s a nifty news item from the Belfast Telegraph: A Derry City under-14 boys’ football squad will be attending a sports cultural exchange program in Tianjin, about an hour from Beijing, later this summer. According to the article, it’s the first of its kind involving a team from either the United Kingdom or Ireland. A Chinese football team will travel to Ireland next year as part of the exchange.

I Love World Cup!

Posted in Football at 4:45 pm by Nicole

“我爱世界杯!” (Wo ai shi-jie-bei!) That’s how you say it in Mandarin Chinese: “I love World Cup!”

There’s even a show on CCTV-5 by that name. China is a football-crazy country, even though their men didn’t qualify for the 2006 World Cup, which starts in two weeks in Germany. (To see who did qualify, click here.) But because we know so many readers of the China Sports Blog love World Cup, here are a few websites to give you all the information you need to follow your favorite teams:

The official FIFA World Cup Home Page (English)

The official FIFA World Cup Home Page (Chinese)

CCTV-5 World Cup Website (Chinese)

Sohu.com’s World Cup Website (Chinese)

Sina.com’s World Cup Website (Chinese)

We’re getting lots of inquiries as to when CCTV-5 will be broadcasting the games. The broadcast schedule at the CCTV-5 website only gets updated on a weekly basis but CCTV has an entire website dedicated to the World Cup, so hopefully they’ll offer a more complete broadcast schedule. I’ll sift through all those Chinese characters looking for one as soon as my students finish up (great timing: the last day of classes at Shantou is the first day of World Cup competition – June 9 – so everyone will have time to tune in).

News reports say that between CCTV-5 and sister channels CCTV-1 and CCTV-2, all of the games from the entire tournament will be broadcast live. For everyone who loves World Cup in China, what news could be better?

By the way, if you live in China and you have a great story about where you’ll be watching World Cup, please email me. One of my journalist friends in Beijing is writing a story about World Cup fans in China and is looking for good stories about where China’s fans plan to watch the games.


World Cup television schedule for CCTV

Posted in Football at 2:15 pm by Nicole

China Daily is running a short news item reporting that CCTV will televise all World Cup matches live from Germany. CCTV will be using three of its channels (CCTV-1 and CCTV-2, in addition to the regular sports channel CCTV-5) to accomplish the feat. Great news for football fans in China (and hopefully the schedule won’t change once it’s set…).


2006: The Year of Football

Posted in Football at 10:14 am by Nicole

It’s the year of the Cup – the World Cup, that is – and Chinese fans are crazy about the sport. “World Cup” in Chinese is 世界杯 – “shi-jie-bei” – and there’s plenty of television programming in China dedicated to the beautiful game. Beautiful, that is, if you understand why so much of the world is so crazy about it. As an American born and bred with baseball – Mom’s a Yankees fan while Dad was from Boston, where only the Red Sox matter – I’m still finding it hard to wrap my head around the incredible popularity that European football enjoys in so many parts of the world. But I’ll get there…give me another few months.

Today the International Herald Tribune reports on the intersection of sport and politics, using the backdrop of the World Cup and Iran’s president commanding the Ministry of Sport to allow women to attend games. It’s a sobering testament to the fact that so much of the world seems to have such a long way to go towards equal rights. In fact, sport can go a very long way to showcase the abilities of both women and men – achievements that help to argue for strong laws in all countries giving women and men the same rights and protections in all areas of life.

I strongly believe that the more women are allowed to play sports at a high level, the more their position in society will improve. At the 2003 World Track and Field Championships in Paris, we watched as Afghanistan fielded its first-ever female competitor at that event in the 100-meter dash She couldn’t run anywhere near as fast as the women who won the medals, but it didn’t matter. It was about symbolism and hope – under Taliban rule, women couldn’t even leave their homes without male supervision, let alone train for elite athletics.

I digress, but it’s an important point. Sports marketers who really believe they can move cultures forward should be thinking about getting as many women into the game as possible – whatever game it might be, in whatever country they’re in. In China I see tons of boys playing pick-up basketball after class – and almost no girls. I’d love to see that trend change in the next generation.

In other football news today, Chelsea and the Asian Football Confederation signed a partnership whereby Chelsea will become the first European club to help develop football in Asia. The agreement was made in Qingdao, China during the AFC’s meeting with the Chinese Football Association.

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