AROUND 5000 Australian fans are travelling to Shanghai for the May 19 match between Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast Suns.
The organisers say another 3000 business people and around 4000 local Chinese will also attend the event, which has sold out after seating capacity was increased this year.
Since April 2016, 37 Chinese businesses have become partners of Port Adelaide generating more than $15 million in revenue for the club.
Port Adelaide Chief Executive Keith Thomas told the Australian Financial Review the club has further plans to tap into the China market and build networks for Australian businesses wanting to get into China.
“What started off as a special project in the club has become a part of our core operations,” says Thomas, who has six full-time staff working on the project and is employing 100 people on the ground on the day.
“5 million people viewed the Shanghai match last year. That is expected to increase to 9 million this year,” Thomas said.
China does not have a big sporting culture and have never heard of AFL, but the game has been given a boost with the League securing broadcast deals with three free-to-air television channels in China.