China’s most popular sports show, called China Sports Challenge, is back for a third season, airing Sunday on the state broadcaster CCTV.
The show is part of a push to boost China’s sporting and entertainment sector and bring more foreign sports stars into the country, according to Zhang, who said it will help Chinese fans enjoy the game in new ways.
“This season, the most popular sport is the competition between football and basketball,” Zhang told reporters.
Chinese footballers and basketball players were at the top of a list of sports stars that Zhang has spoken with, along with celebrities including actor Zhang Ziyi and comedian Zhang Jihua.
Zhang said the show will include an international cast, with sports personalities from the United States, Australia and the UK.
A Chinese soccer player holds up his medals after winning the Asian Football Championship 2017 final against Malaysia at the Beijing Olympics stadium in Beijing, China, July 11, 2020.
China has more than 4.5 million football fans, according the Sports Ministry.
Zhang said that during the second season of China Sports, the show would feature two footballers, a basketball player and a soccer player.
China’s top athletes, including soccer players Zhang Juhua and Zhang Zizhao, pose for a photo in Beijing during a meeting with China’s National Olympic Committee president Zhang Yimou, September 25, 2018.
During the first season, Zhang said, the team’s players would be competing in basketball and football, but the new season would feature soccer.
As the show begins, Zhang will have the challenge of creating new sport-specific and new games for his audience.
Zhang, one of the country’s biggest sports personalities, said he hopes to find a way to create games that appeal to different audiences.
But it will be difficult to find an audience that is in tune with his sports programming, Zhang added.
He said that while China was a country of 10 million, there are around 700 million football and soccer fans in the country.
In the first five years of China’s Olympic Games, Zhang has seen a big rise in the number of foreign football and sports stars playing.
His new show, which is part sports, part social, will try to appeal to those fans, Zhang continued.
However, Zhang also said that Chinese fans will have to be aware that they are watching a new sport.
At a press conference this week, Zhang expressed his frustration that the state-owned broadcaster was not more transparent about the Chinese players who are coming to China for the Olympics.
Last month, Zhang posted on Twitter that he had been informed by the Chinese sports ministry that the number who were signed for the 2022 and 2024 Olympics would be reduced to 1,200.