October 1 saw a milestone in rugby when the American “specialty” was officially introduced to the Chinese playground. More than 11,500 Chinese have come to watch the opening match of the American-style football championship in China, as a way to kick off American sports in conquering fans in the mainland.
In the US, the word “Football” is very famous but not football originating from England, but rugby. Overall, Football is also the “rugby” game that the British call the sport to use oval balls, with a different rules of football (Americans call football soccer). And if in the UK, the Premier League is the No. 1 league, then in the US there is the NFL (National Football League) with the same attraction as the NBA (National Basketball Association).
In the articles of Time or The Los Angeles Times, the majority of fans watching American football admit that they know nothing about the rules of the game, but feel excited. Speaking like Mr. David Niu – President of CAFL, American football is often very exciting with intense developments and matches always have high scores, usually a total of dozens of goals, different from just “a few goals. In the match last weekend, Shenzhen Naja beat Dalian Dragon Kings with the score 47-19.
China, like most other continents other than North America, considers European football (American football or soccer) to be a familiar sport. China is also home to many fans of teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. That is certainly the first hurdle that American style football must overcome to conquer this huge market of 1.4 billion people.
China has long been heavy on table tennis, athletics, gymnastics … sports that earned them gold medals at the Olympics. It will be difficult for them to accept a new discipline with strange rules and also require a high body like rugby.