In an effort to increase global digital fan engagement, the English Premier League has launched an official mobile app exclusively in Mandarin. The app will host a Mandarin-language data hub that shows statistics from both individual players and clubs.
A press release from the EPL claims that it is the first European soccer league to create an app specifically designed for fans in China. Currently, the Premier League connects with its Chinese fans via popular China-based social media apps such as Weibo, WeChat, and Toutiao. The EPL has a combined following of nearly four million across those social media accounts.
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“We work closely with our broadcast partners and, together with our clubs, have regularly hosted events in China to bring live experiences to supporters,” said EPL managing director Richard Masters, in the press release. “This app provides another way to engage with the Premier League digitally and recognises the commitment of our fans with more and better localised content in Mandarin.”
Through the Premier League official Chinese app, fans can view the latest news and receive links to local media outlets broadcasting EPL matches. Users will also receive notifications regarding a club’s starting lineups and scoring updates.
Digital media agency Red Lantern, which maintains offices in both London and Beijing, was responsible for managing the app’s content development. The app itself was built by Kingworld and is available for both iOS and Android devices.
“China is a mobile marketplace and this investment by the Premier League is another way to help drive value back to clubs and Chinese broadcasters,” said Red Lantern founder Lewis Hannam. “Rights-holders need to have a bespoke digital strategy for China and the Premier League is at the forefront of that.”
By building an app specifically for China, the EPL is hoping to more effectively engage with soccer fans in the most populous country in the world. Taking a different approach, fellow European soccer organization Bayern Munich recently launched a website for users with poor internet connections. While the EPL’s app seeks to engage with a single, but large country, Bayern’s initiative could engage with a bigger audience across a greater area.