The NFL has tried and failed to make a dent in the European market, so the world’s most lucrative sports league is trying something different in China, the Washington Post reports: less football, more reality TV. The resulting show, NFL Blitz, features Taiwanese band Mayday—"like the Beatles" in China, says former NFL player Chad Lewis—hanging with cheerleaders and playing flag football in America.
“We thought a television show might bridge the cultural gap,” one official says. The league is beginning to see results: Just 400,000 Chinese watched last year’s Super Bowl, but this year, 2.2 million tuned in. Still, while reality TV rules in China, football doesn’t. Table tennis and badminton are the most popular sports, and many Chinese are bewildered by football. “It’s like explaining cricket to us,” says Lewis.