China’s international soccer team is ranked an lowly 96th in the world according to FIFA rankings. Despite this poor showing in recent years, China maintains one of the largest fan bases in all of international soccer. Their fans go crazy for games, some following religiously. They also recently had a resurgence in their home league, one that was full of corruption until 2009.
This attitude has caused many business leaders in China to begin to vie for a chance to host the sports grandest event. One of the leading companies promoting this idea is the Dalian Wanda Group. They have committed to spending millions of dollars to sponsor Chinese players on Spanish teams, a country with one of the best leagues in the world. They also just acquired a Swiss sports-marketing agency, Infront Sports and Media AG, as well as a 20% stake in Spanish soccer power Atletico Madrid.
Many believe this trend shows an increased desire for China to host a World Cup in the future. The next time this would be possible however is in 2030. This delay could work in the favor of the Chinese as they continue to improve as a team and their interest in soccer continues to rise.
Source: WSJ China Realtime