American arena football makes first visit to China


The American arena football made its first visit to China with an exhibition match in the Beijing Capital Gymnasium on Sunday when the east Philadelphia Soul beat west Arizona Diamondbacks 69-52.

The two American all-star teams chosen from Arena Football League (AFL) showcased their wonderful skills for the Chinese and all the facilities in the match were made in China.

Apart from the fantastic match itself, interactions between players and audiences even made the atmosphere in the venue crazy. Zeng Mengcheng, a sophomore from China University of Mining and Technology stood and hailed to the players each time when they scored or waved their hands to the audience.

"I used to hear about American football games in books and TV shows but never see it in a gymnasium before. It makes me passionate!" Zeng said.

And for foreign football lovers living in China, the exhibition game is also a feast.

Karl Metzner, an American businessman who lives in Beijing for 10 years off and on said it satisfied him and the feelings of watching arena football games in America and China are "pretty much the same".

"It's hard to imagine that the Chinese people attending this kind of game 15 or 20 years ago. I think the Chinese people now are more emotional than before," Metzner said when asked about the atmosphere in the venue.

Actually, the olive-shipped ball has gradually become popular in China. Rugby Sevens is even included in China's National Games this year.

According to Wu Hua, CEO of Ganlan Media International (Beijing) Co., Ltd., year 2013 is a start for China to bring in the American arena football and the country has already cultivated its own coaches/referees of the game in May.

"Like CBA brought from NBA model, China will gradually develop its own arena football league," Wu said.

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