China is launching the country’s first football focused reality television series that is planned to be aired across 30 channels between April and July.
The shoot for the television series commenced last month.
According to the script, a group of young Chinese football players will be lined up against Manchester City under-18 team. The Chinese team has been pieced together specially for the show and will travel to UK after competing with teams within the country.
Called Football Mania, the series will be the coming together of Guangdong TV, Tencent Sport and Manchester City owner City Football Group. Manchester City’s Chinese partner Zhong An Holdings is also part of the partnership.
As they vie for a place in the team, the show will track the members of the team which will keep reducing with every passing episode of the series. Former City defender, Sun Jihai, who was the first Chinese to play for a top Premier League side, will also appear in the show.
Shanghai-based City Media Capital had bought a 13 per cent stake in Manchester City in December 2015. It is believed that City Football Group, controlled by Sheikh Mansour Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, could buy into a Chinese club. Among the clubs it has stakes in are New York City FC, Melbourne FC and Yokohama F Marinos.