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Port Adelaide And CCTV Take AFL Broadcasting To A New Level

  • Thursday, June 09 2016 @ 12:50 pm ACST
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On the back of nearly four million viewers in China for the Power's Round 5 clash against Geelong, Port Adelaide, the AFL and CCTV have entered a partnership which will see one AFL game per week for the remainder of the 2016 home and away season broadcast on the world's biggest television network.

As part of the agreement, one in every three games will involve Port Adelaide. CCTV will also broadcast any final if Port Adelaide is a competing club.

Port Adelaide will continue to produce its weekly 30-minute AFL Show which documents Port Adelaide SANFL recruit Chen Shoaliang's dream of one day playing AFL. The show also showcases highlights of five AFL games from the weekend, as well as the top five marks, goals and tackles from each Round.

CCTV's willingness to broadcast more AFL games on their expansive network was a result of the ratings success of Port Adelaide's Round 3 and 5 games.

The club's Round 3 win against Essendon reached an audience of nearly 2 million viewers on CCTV.

Port Adelaide's Round 5 clash against Geelong reached more than 3.5 million viewers in China.

The club's first weekly AFL Show screened on April 2 reached approximately 2 million viewers.

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said he was delighted with the response from the Chinese sporting public.

"When we entered into a partnership with CCTV to broadcast games against Essendon and Geelong we weren't sure how they would be accepted by CCTV's viewing audience," Mr Thomas said.

"We were hopeful of gaining an audience share of between 1 and 2 million viewers by our second broadcast game but to achieve 2 million viewers for the first broadcast game in Round 3 was very pleasing.

"But for me the real story is in the staggering growth from our first broadcast game to the second. To go from reaching approximately 2 million viewers to over 3.5 million the following game tells me there is a real appetite for our game in China.

"On these figures we estimate that by season's end potentially 60 million Chinese viewers would have watched Port Adelaide on CCTV in 2016."

Director of CCTV Sports Channel Zhang Bin said that it was too early at this stage to gauge the overall popularity of AFL in the eyes of the broader Chinese audience but he had noticed a definite interest in the game.

"The first impressions of AFL by our staff and via general feedback from viewers is that the sport is very interesting, with faster pace and more vivid movement than other codes such as traditional Rugby or NFL games," said Mr Zhang.

"CCTV5+ are keen to broadcast an AFL game per week so that we can keep educating and developing the audience group to ensure the sport has an opportunity to grow here in China.

"CCTV5+ has been broadcasting Rugby Sevens at Olympic games and the Rugby Union World Cup to huge audiences in recent years.

"We want our audiences to explore different countries, cultures and sport-lifestyles through watching a variety of 'olive ball' shaped sports like AFL.

"As a result of AFL coverage on CCTV5+ we hope there will be more Chinese people in the future visiting Australia and experiencing the true Aussie spirit through their association with the sport."