- Chelsea, who were the fastest-growing European soccer team on Weibo last season, have more than eight million followers on the platform
- The Blues have stationed Chinese fan reporter at Cobham to create regular China-specific content
- Weibo partnership will help club “increase fan participation and commercial monetisation”
Top-flight English soccer side Chelsea have become the first Premier League club to strike a strategic partnership with Weibo, the Sina-owned Chinese social media platform.
The collaboration will have a focus on new and exclusive original China-specific content, which Chelsea will share with their fans on Weibo on a daily basis. The West London club currently has more than eight million followers on the platform, which as of January this year boasted 520 million monthly active users.
To help fuel that content drive, Chelsea have stationed a Chinese fan reporter at their Cobham training ground to enable them to film regular content specifically for China. The club has also launched Chelsea FC China TV, a regular weekday local video series that features current squad members, past players, key opinion leaders (KOLs) and lifestyle features.
“Delivering high quality, quick-to-market content and bringing our Chinese fans closer to the club are two key aims of Chelsea’s China strategy,” said Guy Laurence, Chelsea’s chief executive. “Through this strategic partnership with Weibo, we will be able to grow our offering of original and China-specific content across the country.”
Chelsea were the fastest-growing European soccer team on Weibo last season, according to an official release. As of the end of August, they were the fourth most followed club on the platform, behind only Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United, who lead the way with more than ten million followers.
Zhan Sheng, general manager of Sina Sports, added: “Having already successfully worked with Chelsea on a number of projects, Weibo and Chelsea FC will continue to collaborate further. The key areas of our focus moving forward will be on delivering bespoke multimedia content formats, operating fan communities, as well as new and upgraded commercialisation models.
“Weibo has continued to increase its investment and support in the sports industry since the inception of its vertical sports platform. With an increased impact in the sports industry in recent years, Weibo has now formed a comprehensive ecosystem linking event organisations, clubs, athletes, media, and KOLs. It’s a unique style of social media communication on Weibo which will provide Chelsea FC with the platform to increase fan participation and commercial monetisation.”
The partnership further reinforces China as a priority market for Chelsea, who were the first European soccer club to produce a local pre-match studio show specifically for Chinese fans. To date, the Blues have delivered six live online digital fan events during the Covid-19 pandemic, achieving a cumulative 58 million views.