The FIBA World Cup has just completed in China. It ran for 17 days and was held in 8 locations across China.
Basketball seems to be a growing market in China and presumably there was a belief that holding the World Cup in China would increase that market.
I went out to China and attended games in three locations – Wuhan, Shanghai and Beijing. I frequently spoke to local people who had no idea that the World Cup was on or that it was being held in China. I did see billboards, adverts at bus stops and adverts in airports and train stations. It was clear that a lot of money had been spent to promote the competition in China but it didn’t seem to generate a lot of interest in China. None of the games I attended were sold out.
I only attended games later in the competition so I don’t know if the earlier games (where the competing teams were known well in advance) were busier. When I booked my tickets I did not know which teams I would get to see but I knew that to get to the later stages the teams would have to have played well and so they would be good. I was going to the World Cup to see good basketball but I can understand that if you wanted to see only a particular country the later games would have seemed like a risk. it can be difficult to arrange travel and accommodation while in China due to the internet restrictions and with visas to take in to account there are many reasons that may have led to reduced foreign attendees.
It’s always disappointing when big competitions are not sold out as full venues lead to a better atmosphere. Atmosphere was lacking in most of the games I attended due to the limited number of country specific fans.
Posts on each of the venues and games will follow.