Diary of a Producer – AFI’s Allan Price Traveling And Working With China Arena Football League

It was a tough start to the week travelling with the China Arena Football League – working a triple-header 16-hour schedule on Sunday in Dalian with a post-midnight finish, followed by a pre-sunrise departure for Qingdao meant some very weary heads in the first group of travellers arriving in the coastal city. However, the welcome lunch and the beachside views certainly helped to smooth out some of the rough edges.

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Amidst the relentless work flow, one of the enjoyable parts of the tour is filming our local segments – a chance to escape into our host cities to find entertaining, informative and exciting locations that reflect the very diverse characters of our stopping points to provide some insight to fans outside of China. Qingdao is located in Shandong (the Eastern Mountains) province and is famous for its wide beaches and seaside culture. It’s also world famous for its Tsingtao brewery, which coincidentally happens to be very photogenic – obviously somewhere we needed to spend an afternoon in…..

It’s also a chance for us to bring some entertainment back to the players, which comes via our weekly Super Challenge series. Every week we take the upcoming game fixtures, and have the teams face off in some friendly competition, based on the theme of each city. This week, it couldn’t be anywhere else but the beach:

Shanghai vs. Shenzhen

Dalian vs. Guangzhou

Beijing vs. Qingdao

As for the actual matches, as there were 3 distinct matchups; the two undefeated teams, the two winless teams, and the two middle teams. At the bottom, the Guangzhou Power lifted off the mark with a comfortable 40-7 victory against Dalian, while the Shanghai Skywalkers edged the Shenzhen Naja 61-48 to go 2-1 and jump ahead of them in the middle of the standings. In Sunday’s game, the Beijing Lions held on at the end to win 47-33 and spoil the excitement of the home fans.

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All games wrapped, and no sooner had we first stepped foot inside the luxurious lobby of our temporary home, it was time for another pre-sunrise departure – saying farewell to the northern half of the season, and heading to our first southern location, Guangzhou. In the temperate climate of the northern cities, the Guangzhou Power struggled to kick start their season. Now the heat is on as they have a must-win homecoming game against local rivals, the Shenzhen Naja on Sunday afternoon.

As we pass the half way point of the China Arena Football League season, the undefeated Beijing Lions top the league standings with a 3-0 record, following by the Qingdao Clipper at 2-1, and the Shanghai Skywalkers also at 2-1. The Shenzhen Naja are fourth with a 1-2 record, the Guangzhou Power fifth also at 1-2 and the winless Dalian Dragon Kings are sixth at 0-3.

And as the media team rounds the same base, we are finding new ways to streamline and improve our coverage for fans, as well as using early feedback to identify the best parts of the season that the world enjoys watching. And in the last few days, it certainly seems that people are enjoying the celebrations on the field, as reports from Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, ESPN, SB Nation and American Football International point out the fun and entertaining side of the game:

Touchdown celebrations

Allan Price
Allan was the Presenter and Co-Producer of Gridiron TV for 4 years, and also spent 10 years playing football in the UK, both at university & adult level, with 107 combined games in his career (on offense, defense and special teams). Allan is now based in Shanghai and reporting on local & national football development
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