My views on Shenzhen sports

Please note – the below article is the UN-EDITED version of the article that was published in the Shenzhen Daily on July 19, 2021.

On May 14th, Shenzhen Daily published an article about Tenniel Chu and his thinking on promoting the sports industry in Shenzhen (SZ needs more ‘sports marketing’).

As part of that article, Chu spoke about increasing the influence of existing professional sports clubs in Shenzhen. This is also an important thing to do, as the current sports marketing in Shenzhen is severely lacking.

With that in mind, I would recommend that the professional sports teams in Shenzhen come together like professional teams in Europe do under one banner. I would name it Sporting Club Shenzhen, nicknamed the Citizens. It would include Shenzhen FC, Shenzhen Aviators, Guangdong Shenzhen Glorious (men’s volleyball), Shenzhen SUSTech Kaisa (badminton), and Shenzhen (table tennis).

While this is not a definitive list of professional sports in Shenzhen, it would be an example of providing connections between multiple professional sports across Shenzhen. Major European clubs like Bayern Munich (Germany), Real Madrid (Spain), Panathinaikos AC (Greece), Fenerbahçe (Turkey), and CSKA Moscow (Russia) all have teams in multiple sports operating under one umbrella organization.

What are the benefits of this approach? Firstly, it provides civic pride. The use of the nickname Citizens is used as a unifier. Everyone is a citizen of Shenzhen, regardless of how long they have been here. An old advertising slogan used words to the effect of “Once a Shenzhener, always a Shenzhener.” I also recall seeing a fan video for Shenzhen FC that focused on migrants being a significant proportion of the population.

Secondly, it creates a unifying set of colors for the club. There are many different colors for the city’s sports teams, whereas one set of colors could be worn for all clubs. While I am not a fashion guru by any stretch of the imagination, I would recommend black and blue as the primary home colors. They would represent the high-tech background of the city. I think an off-white or pearl coloration would show the city’s history in the Pearl River Delta for the away colors.

Thirdly, a bigger club would entice more prominent sponsors and more sponsorship funds. The opportunity to splash their name across the front of every jersey in a sports organization does not often appear. Interest levels will almost certainly be very high.

Fourthly, sports clubs play an essential role in the community. Children are the most important conduit to sporting events, so players can do more events at schools and clubs in the city. Schools would relish the opportunity to take a break from their heavy loads. Sporting Club Shenzhen can hand out tickets to the children, which requires their parents to buy tickets to go with them, increasing attendance.

However, this requires input from the city. While Shenzhen Stadium is being rebuilt into a football-specific stadium, there is an opportunity for a new indoor stadium to be built in a downtown area. The Gangxia North transport hub is a fantastic location that connects to Lines 2, 10, 11, and 14, with close connections to Lines 1, 3, 4, and 7. A multi-modal indoor stadium designed for all indoor sports would do wonders for marketing sports in Shenzhen and support international events in Shenzhen.

These are some of my ideas, and I hope that supports the broader ideas for Shenzhen.

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