FC Barcelona has once again congratulated fans on Chinese New Year, which in 2020 commemorates the Year of the Rat, this time with an animated video featuring first team players Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Antoine Griezmann, Marc-André Ter Stegen and Barça Feminí star Lieke Martens. This is the seventh time that Barça has dedicated a special message to its fans from the Asian country on the occasion of this festival, the most important of the year in the Chinese calendar, also known as the Spring Festival.
In this video, available as of today on official FC Barcelona channels, Messi’s character is represented as a ‘fortune hero’, who through football and sport has the power to help boost relations between family, friends and neighbours. He is joined on his adventure by his teammates and the star of the women’s team. Lasting 60 seconds, the film tells the story of the family of a young Barça fan in China getting his home ready for the festive season. The story is presented without words, with music and gesture alone doing the job, in line with the typical Chinese animation style.
As well as the video, this year FC Barcelona has teamed up with the China Academy of Art (CAA) to create a series of posters that combine real images of both the first team players and Martens with the typical visual elements and designs of Chinese culture.
FC Barcelona and its ties with China
FC Barcelona has a close sporting, social and financial relationship with China and, since September 2013, has had a permanent overseas office in Hong Kong, the first in its history. The idea behind the project is to attract new sponsors and exploit the Asia Pacific market, and above all to create a long-lasting connection with its fans.
The club currently has more than 47 million fans. The 10 million of those who watch each FC Barcelona game on TV has increased engagement, especially through social media. This was acknowledged recently at the the Red Card Awards, hosted each year by Mailman, the prestigious marketing and sports agency, and which recognized FC Barcelona as the "best online football club" in China.
In 2019, this commitment to digital media in the Asian market bore evident fruit, with more than 9,370,000 followers on social networks, a figure that represented a 57% increase on 2018. Generalised progress was observed in 2019 on Weibo, WeChat and Toutiao, although the most dramatic increase has been on Douyin, where the club now has 2.4 million fans. With an average of 200,000 likes per video published, Barça is achieving faster and bigger growth than any other sports club on this social media site.
FC Barcelona’s idea is to continue to grow in this market with actions like those carried out in recent years, such as the launch of the club's official website in Chinese and the creation of blogs in this language at key moments of the season.