WITH MICHAEL STOKES - Pt. 1 NFL
REPRESENTATIVE TO CHINA
Learn of Their Development of the Markets in China
Past, Present and in the Future
you for taking the time in your busy schedule to answer
some questions about the future of the NFL in China. Hopefully
our below-listed dialogue will provide invaluable interest
and information to people interested in seeing the development
of American-style football within the fastest growing consumer
groups in the world.
"NFL BLITZ" REALITY SHOW
that the NFL's first major efforts to enter the markets
in China, the questions below will highlight on the
NFL’s 16 30-minute episodes reality show on
CCTV featuring the Chinese pop/rock group “Mayday.”
The programs are targeted at the 100 million Chinese
teenagers and young adults in large urban area’s
fascination with American culture. This venture was
organized by Kevin Chang (Director of International
Media for the League Office, of which there are five
satellite offices - U.K., Canada, Mexico , Tokyo &
NFL China’s immediate goal is building a fan base
by getting NFL content (game broadcasts and highlights)
through the various available media options ranging from
television to mobile phones, how will Chinese consumers
(throughout China, Asia, Europe and the United States)
be able to view the reality shows – as a reflection
of NFL’s top media executive Steve Bornstein stated
“committed to growing our sport around the world,
including China? MICHAEL
have produced this programming specifically for broadcast
in Mainland China in conjunction with CCTV. However, we
do consider this "Evergreen" content that will
appeal to other markets and we will explore syndication
and alternate distribution opportunities after the CCTV
broadcast are complete. In the meantime, we hope our fans
will continue to visit NFLChina.com,
that has a great number of highlight videos, educational
clips and flash games.
Mayday (formerly known as So Band)
is a pop rock band (sung mostly in Mandarin) that
have sold more than 1 million albums while kknown
to many as the pioneers of rock in Taiwan.. The group
was formed in the late 1990s with five members, Ashin
(A Xin) (vocalist), Monster (Guai Wu/Guai Shou) and
Stone (Shi Tou) (lead guitars), Masa (Ma-sha) (bass
guitar) and Guan You (Guan-You) (drums).
Their music started as garage-type rock tunes that
progressed to music incorporating slicker production
and sprawling anthemic songs. Their admiration of
the Beatles (in addition to being influenced by U2,
Oasis, Mr. Children, Sting and Wu Bai & China
Blue) have resulted in their dreams to become the
"Beatles of the Chinese World."
that the reality show have been visiting colleges and high
schools (in addition to NFL cities) while explore
the ancillary and pageantry aspects of the game that focuses
on the Chinese’s obsession with American culture, will
a special “Mayday” concert (or Chinese cheerleader
content) and/or concert featuring prominent Chinese artists
during the Super Bowl festivities be forthcoming that represents
a Chinese version of the annual “Halftime Concert”
at the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami that will be planned by Kevin
Chang and Stephanie Hsaio (Marketing Manager for NFL China
who is responsible for recreating American football culture)?
are looking forward to hosting "Mayday" at a press
event here in Beijing on September 24th to promote the show,
but there are are immediate plans to bring them to the United
Note: "Mayday" will performing in the United States
in 2010 in Connecticut (Uncasville's Mohegan Sun Arena
- Sunday: April 4th - 1st show at 2:00 A.M. and the 2nd show
at 2:00 P.M.), Los Angeles (Gibson Amphitheater on
Saturday: April 10th) and San Jose (San Jose State
University Event Center on Sunday: April 11th) - with
the band returning to perform in Singapore on April 17th.
you share how the strategic partners (IMG, Aaron Randolph)
and entities (director Ton Yi Jun, Kevin Chang, Mayday,
hostess Ada Liu, Ring) developed the relaxed, informal,
campy and lighthearted concept (seeking Super Bowl tickets,
playing flag football, marching bands, talking to cheerleaders,
tailgating, visiting Chinese American football players,
the concept was a collaborative effort between NFL China
and IMG. Then when "Mayday" arrived in the United
States for the shoot, their enthusiasm and creative personalities
took everything to another level. We are really happy with
the footage and believe the show will appeal to a wide audience,
not just Mayday and NFL fans.
the filming for the reality show been completed? Will Mayday
be part of the promotion of the 2010 Super Bowl? MICHAEL
- filming is complete and the show is airing on CCTV5 at
11:30 P.M. on Thursdays. On Thanksgiving night in 2009,
we had a total audience of 4.6M for the 30 minute show (audience
figure reported by TNS research).
(THE "YAO MING EFFECT")
questions below are focused on the importance and/or
need to have a specific high-profiled celebrity/athlete
to be part of the NFL's marketing efforts in China.
This is recognition on how the NBA successfully utilized
Yao Ming to quickly enter the consumers/fans in China.
In addition, these questions provide insights on how
they are using Chad Lewis' unique abilities and passion
in the NFL's efforts with the Chinese football fanbase.
Wayne Lewis (NFL Ambassodor to China)
is a Utah native that played tight end in the National
Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles and St.
Louis Rams. Before attending Brigham Young University,
Lewis served as a Mormon missionary for two years
in Taichung, Taiwan where he learned to speak Mandarin.
Lewis finished his collegiate career with 111 receptions
for 1,376 yards, and ten touchdowns. As a junior,
he was an All-WAC first-team choice, and a UPI All-American
honorable mention.Lewis signed as an undrafted free
agent for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997. After playing
2 1/2 seasons with the Eagles he was signed by the
St. Louis Rams for only one season. Lewis won a Super
Bowl title with the Rams in 1999 (Super Bowl XXXIV
over the Tennessee Titans). Lewis was re-signed by
the Eagles and caught the game clinching touchdown
pass in the 2005 NFC Championship game. However, during
this reception, Lewis suffered a serious foot injury
that kept him out of the Super Bowl XXXIX loss to
the New England Patriots.
2002 the NFL sent Lewis to Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand
to promote the NFL. Since then he has visited China
five times to give interviews and help with football
clinics. He has also spoken at the Fourth of July
celebration in China. He made his first trip with
then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue in 2002 and served
as color analyst for the first Chinese NFL broadcast
at the 2004 Super Bowl between the Patriots and Panthers.
Lewis' NFL Asia experience didn't start in mainland
China, but on a three-nation trip in 2002 to Taiwan,
Singapore and Thailand, where he conducted by his
count hundreds of interviews, in both Chinese and
English, with reporters and writers lined up at each
stop for a 10- to 15-minutes apiece chat. Since then,
he's made five extended visits to mainland China —
always either Beijing, Shanghai, or both, and often
with a family member in tow — and looking to
returning more in the future to visit other cities.
what’s Chad Lewis, former tight end for the
Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Rams doing in
I am visiting Chinese students at different universities.
I’ll be doing halftime interviews during live
game broadcasts on SMG and [Sina.com] (http://www.sina.com/).
I’ll do football clinics with the media so they
can further understand the game of Football. I will
also be appearing at a few of the NFL Evening viewing
you’re here as part of NFL’s push into
the Chinese market?
What are the benefits to establishing an NFL following
in China It's a great idea to get Chinese people together
to watch games. That's one of the main draws for football
back in the States—the camaraderie and social
aspect of game watching. Also, China is not just important
to the world economy, it is vital. I believe that
in the coming years, Chinese fans will have a big
impact on the game.
we’ve heard about your long-standing interest
in Asia. You’ve been to China three times and
lived in Taiwan for two years where you learned Mandarin.
Why all the interest?
I am lucky to have fallen in love with the Chinese
people and the Chinese culture because I served as
a missionary for my church in Taiwan. It was the most
incredible experience of my life. I learned how to
speak the language there. There was a time when I
could read and write very well. I know that I never
would have been able to play in the NFL if it wasn’t
for living in Taiwan for two years as a missionary.
Everything good in my life has come from my experience
living among and serving the Chinese people.
last question, do you think the NFL will recruit a
football player out of China soon?
In a country of over 1.3 billion people, there are
more than enough athletes that have the qualifications
to play football. Football is unique because it can
use all sorts of different people that come in any
shape and size. I can’t wait to see a Chinese
player in the NFL. He will become a hero in China
and I think he will have rock star status. (from
Beijing's City Weekend interview with Chad Lewis)
important is it to have a NFL equivalent of the NBA’s
Yao Ming to achieve the targeted success? MICHAEL
development is not a primary focus in China at this time.
would you say to interested observers that a NFL version
of NBA’s “Yao Ming” would be strategic
to achieving the greatest growth of American-style football
in China and successfully holding the China Bowl? MICHAEL
no question that Yao Ming's success has had a major impact
on the NBA's popularity in China, however, our primary focuses
remains on building media partnerships which is the most
efficient way to raise awareness and understanding of our
sport. We are concentrating on media partnerships and marketing
initiatives that will raise awareness and interest amongst
urban males (18-30).
the importance and availability of numerous online &
“new media” options to your targeted demographic
group, will much of factor are the just-listed outlets?
If so, have the online partners been identified? MICHAEL
(China's #1 sports site)
and QQ.com (#2
overall in China) are our two main portal partners -
each of whom streams a live game every week of the season.
We also work closely with renren.com,
a popular social networking site that we feature on NFLChina.com.
We like to foster and promote an online NFL community and
does this better than anyone in China.
are the plans for Chad Lewis - the NFL player who was former
missionary who learned to speak Mandarin while serving in
Chad Lewis an "NFL Ambassador" in China. With
his language skills, love of the game and passion for China,
we will continue to work with Chad. In fact, he was here
again two weeks ago signing autographs at our weekly viewing
parties, hosting a university flag football clinic and commentating
during our MNF/Monday
Night Football Sina Broadcasts. We always keep Chad
busy and he is a pleasure to work with. He'll also be featured
in "NFL Blitz" Episode #2 on CCTV.