Tuesday 03 December 2013
The Barclays Premier League trophy was one of the stars of the show in Shanghai as Prime Minister David Cameron led a delegation seeking to showcase the best of British to China.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and former Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers player Graeme Le Saux were also among the attendees at the GREAT reception of 800 Chinese and British business people, including cabinet ministers such as Culture Secretary Maria Miller, as well as other big British brands, such as Jaguar and the National Theatre.
"This is a win-win for the UK and China and demonstrates how our strong relationship can help us to succeed in the global race"
The Government's "GREAT" campaign aims to show the best of what the UK has to offer in international markets, to encourage the world to visit and do business with the UK, and the Premier League is one of its partners.
The day before the reception, the Premier League announced two partnerships to forge closer ties with China. Through Premier Skills, its programme with the British Council, the existing community coaching agreement will be expanded into schools with the aim of reaching 1.2m youngsters within three years. Another Premier League agreement with the Chinese Super League and Chinese FA will look to share knowledge to help develop the professional game in the country.
"It's great to kick off this visit to China with such a tangible example of how we are strengthening ties between our peoples and creating business opportunities for British companies along the way," the Prime Minister said. "This is a win-win for both the UK and China and demonstrates how our strong relationship can help us both to succeed in the global race."
The UK Government has long recognised the role the Premier League plays in promoting this country worldwide. That is why Scudamore was asked to give evidence to a House of Lords Select Committee on soft power last week.
"Soft power" describes "the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion".
The House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence wanted to explore how “being British” affects the Premier League’s ability to sell its rights around the world and learn how it promotes British culture and values abroad, as well as what role sport can play in international development.
Scudamore told the committee that at the heart of the Barclays Premier League is an authentic English experience.
"There is a huge association with it being quintessentially English," he said. "The overseas owners and players buy into that. They are buying something very authentic that has been there since 1888.
“We are lucky that we are here producing the best. It is a common language where you can talk to taxi drivers or anyone you meet. It goes for any English sport and it's quite powerful.”
How the Chinese public enjoy this English experience was also on show at the reception. Super Sports Media Group, represented by chairman Jianguang Li and chief executive Bin Hu, showcased the Premier League's broadcast partners' coverage of the Barclays Premier League on a multiple of platforms, such as TVs, PCs, tablets and mobile phones.