Oh, China, how fast you’ve grown. Just think, it was a mere twenty years ago that you were openly and ham-handedly crushing dissent by massacring students in Tianamen Square. Now, look at you. Your most popular car is Buick, your favorite pastime is watching reality TV, and you own most of the American economy. You’re just like us - well, except for that Buick thing. None of us would be caught dead in one.
With well over a billion people just waking up to the joys of consumer culture, it’s no surprise that American companies and sports leagues are angling for a piece of the action. The NBA has been promoting basketball in China for over a decade, and basketball is serious business over there. Brands like Nike and adidas are ubiquitous on billboards and in stores. Now the NFL has done the math and, with
dollar yuan signs in their eyes, have turned their attention to the Chinese markets in true American fashion - with a reality show!
So what kind of reality TV show does the NFL think would work in a market like China? Well, the NBA has been airing a reality show centering around cheerleaders. That’s a good way to introduce your product to the Chinese 18-35 male demographic, we’d think. But for the NFL? Well, let’s just say that “Hard Knocks” or “Playmakers” this ain’t, according to SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL (subscription required):
A China-based source said the NFL would spend about $1 million annually to buy time on CCTV-5 for the show, which is planned for the fall.
“The reality show attempts to educate Chinese sports fans on NFL and the culture surrounding football such as tailgating, fans dressing up, game-day experiences [and] fan clubs,” the source said. “It is kind of zany, because I think some Chinese celebs will get involved on the show.”
Tailgating and fans dressing up? Great, so it’s going to be a show about fat Green Bay fans and Raiders fans. Someone might want to show clips of that NBA cheerleader show to Roger Goodell; we don’t need to give people in foreign countries yet more reasons to hate America.