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One of FC Barcelona’s defining characteristics is its commitment to innovation and the search for new digital channels and formats to connect with new audiences and take the club closer to its fans around the world. And there has been further recognition of this in China at the Red Card 2020 awards organised by Mailman, a specialist consultant on sports marketing in China, which has announced that Barça is the strongest club in the country’s online market.
Board member Dídac Lee, head of the club’s Digital Area, collected the award on behalf of FC Barcelona. He was joined at today’s prize ceremony in Shanghai by Toni Claveria, head of the APAC region.
A 57% increase in digital presence in one year
FC Barcelona is being honoured on the significant growth of its online presence on different social networks in China, where in late 2019 it had 9.37 million followers. That’s 3.42 million more than just a year earlier, meaning a massive increase by 57%. Throughout 2019, widespread expansion has been observed on Weibo, WeChat and Toutiao, although the most marked growth has occurred on Douyin, where 2.4 million fans are now following events at the club. With an average of 200,000 likes per video published, Barça is experiencing the greatest growth out of all the different sports clubs featuring on this social network.
Barça are also the club with the highest number of online interactions in China, regaining the top spot in this category. This is due to a clear commitment to digital in this market and to the digital field itself. It also follows the trend of the results achieved by the club globally on other platforms where it has a presence.
One of the club’s aims is not just to increase its number of followers but also to boost fan engagement by creating different content that is especially designed for the Chinese audience and is adapted to its digital realm. To do so, last year the club worked with two Shanghai based communication and marketing agencies that specialise in the Chinese market. Some of the most important projects of the year gone by have included the production of a special Chinese New Year video made with fans from the country, the launch of the official Chinese language website and vlogs in Chinese at key moments of the season. Barça also works in close liaison with Chinese influencers and celebrities to create content that will bond with the fans.
The purpose of the Red Card awards is to recognise the most outstanding digital and fan engagement projects in the Chinese market. A jury of nine professionals from leading companies in the Chinese sports world decide the winners of what have become the most important awards in the country’s sports industry.
Statement by Dídac Lee, board member and head of FC Barcelona Digital Area:
"We are delighted to receive this award, as it is an important recognition of the effort, teamwork and innovation of everybody who has undertaken this project on behalf of FC Barcelona. It also confirms Barça's leadership in a key market for the club, China, which has been boosted by our strong commitment to the country and to digital. Our goal is to create content that represents us in a constantly evolving digital environment, and that also fits with the culture and customs of the country. I would also like to add that I am especially proud of the award on a personal level, because it is a distinction granted to an entity that I have admired since childhood in a country that represents my origins.
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