John Yan: China’s CSL shows growth but can it grow up? 职业化二十年,价值几何?

The 2013 edition of China Super League Value Report was recently released by Netease.com and Total Sports. This is the second edition of the annual report on professional football in China.

The report is divided into four parts: the management of the China Super League Company, which is a body like the English Premier League Committee; the second part covers the financial situation of the 16 clubs in the top division; the third part looks at a hot issue – the salary level of players and coaches; the fourth part is a newly added one – the fans.

For the CSL company, the governing body of the league, the 2013 season was a successful one, with the company’s revenue surpassed 370 million RMB (£37 million), after tax profit would be beyond 100 million RMB (£10 million). Each of the 16 clubs of the CSL could receive at least 6 million RMB as their annual share from the CSL company, which is a historical record.

As regards the more detailed structure of revenue, a lot of questionmarks still remain. For the China Super League, media copyright revenue is still a small part. CCTV and other national satellite channels have been doing live broadcast of the league on weekly basis, however, CCTV only contributes less than 10 million RMB, the other channels even less. In this restricted media market, CSL could not replicate the great success the EPL has enjoyed from the contributions of SKY, BT Sports and the BBC.

Attendance level is still very high, with average attendance a little bit over 20,000 per match, this could put the CSL in the top eight of all professional football leagues in the world, but high attendances don’t convert into higher media rights income.

Guangzhou Evergrande is leading in Match Day Revenue, surpassed the 100 million RMB figure, but this also includes their match day revenue from the Asian Champions League home matches. For normal league games, even clubs like Guangzhou and Beijing, with average attendances of about 40,000, the income is very low because of low ticket prices.
Meanwhile, costs are rising rapidly. For salaries of players and coaches, this season witnessed a 43% jump. High investment in players like Conca and Kanoute, is an instant solution for some teams’ competitiveness.
In the research of fans, in 16 CSL cities, the majority fans belong to the group of 18 year old to 35 year old age group, monthly income less than 5,000 RMB.

This is a very new and unstable league.

John Yan is Deputy Editor of Netease.com. Contact him at moc.l1635407683iamg@16354076838002g1635407683naiqn1635407683ay1635407683, or on weibo at: http://weibo.com/1646270104/profile?topnav=1&wvr=5

职业化二十年,价值几何?

临近论坛结束,现场观众还有六七成,在北京开一整天的论坛,最终还有这样的上座率,已经很不错了。不过最靠前座席上,足协、中超公司和一些俱乐部代表的席位上,已经人去座空。唯有年近七旬的徐根宝先生,依旧身板挺拔、精神不减地聆听并且记录着。

主持人张斌感叹了一声:”这个时候,我们关于中国足球的所有讨论和分析,足协和联赛的管理者,是最应该参与的……”这是网易主办的第四届中国足球发展论坛,足协副主席林晓华先生认真地参与到下午四点,随后因为另有会议安排,不得不起身离去。

中国足球总是很忙碌,每一个环节、每一个层级的人,都在不停地忙碌,常常忙碌得思考的时间都没有。这一年的联赛赛季结束,广州恒大为中国足球挣足了面子,但是联赛的运营状况和市场价值,在足球职业化改革二十年、中超十年,并没有产生多大的变化。隐患和挑战无所不在,解决方案更多仍然是媒体和球迷在谈论,这样的谈论,往往容易散漫且空洞,哪怕面对着有足够说服力的数据。

和一年前的中国足球发展论坛一样,《中超联赛价值报告》的发布,是对职业联赛经营状况的反映和评估。这份2013版的价值报告,还有一个附件,就是在16座中超城市里,对超过6000名球迷进行的球迷分析报告。和一年前相比,中超整体经营状况平稳,16个俱乐部里至少有14个俱乐部肯定亏损,盈利者,从账面上看,仅有广州恒大和辽宁两家。16个中超俱乐部在2013赛季的营收总额,为16.26亿人民币,支出则接近19亿人民币,整体亏损约为2.64亿人民币。

对于一个成长中的职业联赛而言,这样的亏损数字并不算太高,尤其考虑到中超转暖,也只是近两年事。中超公司作为联赛运营者,2013年收入达到历史纪录3.7亿人民币,利润在1亿人民币之上,能分配给16个俱乐部的资金,平均每家肯定能超过600万人民币。由是从联赛整体,到具体而微的每个俱乐部,中超虽然说不上健康,但逐渐成长的态势明显。

只是一些根本性的矛盾,依旧无法得到解决,管理者甚至连面对这些挑战的勇气,都有些缺乏。

职业体育的经营,收入来源无非是媒体版权、比赛日收入(门票为主)和商业赞助三大类别,前两类尤其是主体。欧洲的职业足球联赛和北美的四大职业体育联盟,前两项收入相加,都会占到总收入的八成以上,可是在中超,媒体版权收入微乎其微。比赛日收入,哪怕2013赛季场均上座率达两万,全球可以排进前八,仍然不能给联赛和俱乐部提供多大帮助。

广州恒大因为中超三连冠,亚冠更是登顶成功,在比赛日收入一类本赛季破亿。不过根据刘建宏先生的介绍,亚冠决赛第二回合那一场比赛,广州恒大的门票和综合经营收入,就达到了5500万人民币,类似疯狂的,还有此前几场亚冠比赛。相比而言,中超主场的收入经营,还属于杯水车薪。

媒体版权收入,更是陈旧且沉重的老话题。央视在2013支付给中超的版权费仍然是一个谜,地方台体育频道和行为额媒体版权相加,到不了两千万人民币。地方卫视版权,倒是卖出了千万人民币以上价格,但是在播出平台受限情况下,这一片市场的拓展,还有待版权代理方云传媒下一个赛季和甘肃卫视的合作。

因此哪怕二十年职业化改革,能给中超一个20亿人民币的估值,能够测算出中超联赛增值速度,要在GDP增长速度之上,但更重要的事实,在于这个联赛的商业价值,并没有因为广州恒大的出色,而有多少实质性增长——事实上,中超生存最为依赖的商业赞助收入,在2013年没有出现明显提升,反倒是人力资源成本——球员和教练的薪资,继续大幅上升,这一年的增幅达到了43%。

这个联赛的球迷主体,根据抽样统计,是一二线城市中,月收入在5000元人民币以内、年龄在18岁到36岁间的青年男性。这样的人群特征,仔细甄别,会发现甲A时代的老球迷,在现在的中超球迷中,比重不过14%——当年的老球迷大部分都被打跑了,新球迷更是这几年被吸引加入,消费习惯尚未形成,所谓的球迷文化氛围,更是远景,没有俱乐部针对性的长期服务,很难想像中超赛场都能像北京工体和广州天河一样火爆。

因此我们面对的,依旧是这个70%投资来自房地产行业的联赛,一个竞技成绩和社会形象看似得到好转,但是整体经营架构没有任何优化,也没有在社区人群服务上,体现出多少进步的职业联赛。中超很火爆,职业化二十年也是一个时间节点,但值得纪念和回忆的价值并不高,需要做的仍然是千头万绪。

倘若空谈的时间都没有,这样的挑战怎么面对?谁去面对?