How LaLiga is bringing El Clasico to China
Bill Yang is currently the Project Coordinator in LaLiga’s China office, having secured the role through SRi in July 2016. Boasting a degree from one of the best universities in China, Bill had accumulated significant research and business analysis experience working for management consulting companies, which was very attractive to LaLiga. Bill is just one example of our dedicated SRi team in China’s ability to secure top talent from other industries for leading sports roles.
Our Head of China, Ting Zhang, recently sat down with Bill to talk about his early experiences at LaLiga.
What are your main responsibilities in LaLiga’s China office?
As the Project Coordinator, I am responsible for a broad range of areas, including a variety of marketing campaigns and activities, sponsor coordination and internal coordination with our Spanish headquarters. Like our rivals in England and Germany, LaLiga is competing fiercely for the attention of Chinese football fans, and my role is vital to the smooth delivery of our initiatives. As the popularity of LaLiga grows in Asia, our team is following suit and part of my role is ensuring we have a top-class office set-up.
Although your early career wasn’t within the sports industry, has it always been a passion of yours?
I have been interested in sport, especially football, from a very early age. As a youngster, I played football in the park with other children in the neighborhood. I then started watching football matches and began to find out about the broader world of international football such the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the big-five European national football leagues.
In addition to football, I also love tennis and Formula 1. For me sport means a lot, it is my favorite hobby. It brings happiness and motivation to so many young people.
Sport can also mirror life, where it is not only about winning and honours, but also about failure, struggle, sacrifice and teamwork.
Being a fan is one thing, but transferring your career from another field into the sports industry is another. Did you have any concerns before joining LaLiga?
Although I was working in management consulting, I always kept an eye on the development of the Chinese sports industry, so to be honest I did not have many concerns. Maybe a lack of experience might have been one. However, since the Chinese sports industry is at a very early stage of its development, it requires more and more young talent from a variety of professional backgrounds to bring in fresh blood, passion and an entrepreneurial approach.
Thanks to the implementation of beneficial regulations, the sports industry has been a big focus in China. As the population is turning their attention to a healthy lifestyle, the huge customer base has great commercial potential and opportunities. I am very grateful for being given this chance at the right time.
What is the biggest difference between working at LaLiga than your previous role?
LaLiga was the first international football rights holder to set up an office in China, which offers me a lot of opportunities to learn about how large international football organisations operate. I am very proud to be one of the first employees for LaLiga in China.
We regard ourselves as the pioneers of the LaLiga business in China, and I’d like to think that all of our projects are very creative and ground breaking. Our China team maintain the ethos of a start-up company, where our creative and entrepreneurial ideas can be fully developed to embrace the dynamic and fast-growing environment in China.
What is your advice for young people who want to secure a position in the China sports industry?
There are a great number of people in China who love sport and many of my friends have expressed interest in finding a job within the sports industry. In the past, the sports industry in China was very underdeveloped, therefore it was unattractive, so many people never considered it as a good career option. There has been massive change since then and the sports industry is thriving.
I would also say that people shouldn’t worry too much about lacking in industry experience, as the talent pool within the China sports industry is still small and many companies are in need of different skill sets.
However, you do need to be well prepared before the opportunity arrives. You need to keep up to date with latest sports business news to ensure your sports business knowledge is relevant. In the future, as the sports business models continue to mature, there will be more opportunities available in IT, consulting, finance and retail.
To find out more about our SRi team based in China, please contact Ting Zhang at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +86 189 118 551 41.