The China Arena Football League (CAFL), China’s first professional American-style football league, is proud to announce a partnership with China’s leading on-line digital network, iQIYI, as the exclusive provider of the league’s inaugural season.
All 18-games, played over six weekends in the “Super Series” tour which kicks off October 1, will be seen live, in full, only on iQIYI. All games will also be available for later viewing, along with a special weekly magazine show and daily fun features and information developed by the CAFL’s own media company.
“We are delighted by the enthusiasm iQIYI has demonstrated for our sport. Such a quality media partner will be vital to our sport becoming as popular with the fans here, as it is in the United States,” said CAFL Founder and Chairman Martin E. Judge. “Our media people met with every one of the major broadcasters and digital networks in China and in the end it was a clear choice for us. iQIYI’s proven track record of young viewership and their promotional power is a perfect fit and we look forward to great cooperation and success together for many years.”
The CAFL is very much like “NFL style” football, or “Gridiron football” in the basic rules but is somewhat different as it is played indoors on a playing field about half the size as the NFL and college games people watch on TV from the US. The CAFL is played with 8 players on each “side” because of the smaller surface.
The first-ever China Arena Football League season begins in Beijing, then moves to Dalian, Qingdao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and then Shanghai. There are two games played every Saturday and a third game of the weekend on each Sunday. All games will be seen live only on iQIYI in China.
Specially trained Chinese announcers will provide the “play by play” as well as the “color analysis” live from the arenas for each game, and will be joined by a special “roving reporter” who will interview spectators, celebrities, coaches and players during the live telecasts.
Special behind the scenes stories of the preparation and experiences of the players will be interwoven during the iQIYI telecasts as well. Award-winning U.S. announcer and producer Lou Tilley will oversee the productions.
“I am so excited to help the fans appreciate our great game. I have been here for almost five years getting to know our potential audience and sponsors, as well as the great young content professionals of iQIYI, and we are ready to present a first class sport in a most informative and entertaining fashion,” said Tilley
“This is China’s own professional league” adds Judge, so in developing our plan, we worked with the Chinese Government to make sure that this is truly China’s own league.”
As a result, the makeup of each of the 6 original teams will be equally split between players from China and from overseas, many of whom are established stars from the US.
Regarding the partnership with CAFL, senior vice president iQIYI Danhao Geng said:
“American football is a highly cooperative sport, with great confrontation, technical complexity, flexible and fast approaches. It’s a fun game to learn, play and watch. The partnership with CAFL will be an important milestone for iQIYI sports, with iQIYI’s huge user base, population and traffic, professional football league will be growing very quickly in China and we are ready to make a significant contribution. ”
Kickoff for the new CAFL is on iQIYI from Beijing LeSport Arena on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 2:00 pm. Watch it here on iQIYI. For tickets, click here.