Aussie Rules back in Shanghai as Port Adelaide and Gold Coast Suns announce second game
The two teams will meet again on May 19 at Jiangwan Stadium as Australian Football League looks to continue growing in China
The Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide will face off in Shanghai for a second time next year as Australia’s biggest spectator sport renews its push to win fans in China.
Aussie Rules – similar to Gaelic football but played with an oval ball – held its first competitive fixture in the country this year, and has decided to go back for more.
“The Australian Football League and both clubs received great support in taking a match to China in 2017,” said AFL general manager of clubs Travis Auld.
“And we’re committed to growing the sporting relationship with Australia’s biggest trading nation.”
This year’s regular-season clash attracted more than 10,000 supporters and millions more watched on TV.
“It was a great spectacle for our game,” said Auld.
Port and the Suns will play on May 19 at Jiangwan Stadium – re-christened Adelaide Arena following an agreement with the South Australian state government.
Power chief executive Keith Thomas was delighted with the confirmation of the second game, which will be part of round nine of the AFL’s 2018 season.
“Like any new venture, you need to nurture it, you need to feed it and love it so it can continue to grow,” he said.
“One of our key responsibilities is to ensure the Shanghai experience is a benchmark that other AFL clubs can look at and be inspired to follow us to China.
“We think the future of the game is growing the game in China.”
Last year’s clash was billed as the first time a major Western sports league has held a full-season fixture in China.
Other competitions like American Football’s NFL, and ice hockey’s NHL, are also working to establish a fan base in the huge China market.