Asia Research Institute



Jonathan Sullivan

Jonathan Sullivan is Director of the China Policy Institute and a Brighton and Hove Albion fan. His interests in Chinese football evolved out of a long-term research agenda on Chinese media and internet, and a lifelong love of all things football. His research is particularly focused on the entertainment/politics nexus in the Chinese context.

Simon Chadwick

Simon Chadwick is Professor of Sports Enterprise at Salford University Manchester where he is also a Director of the Centre for Sports Business. His interests lay in the commercial development and management of sport, in particular in the areas of business strategy and marketing in sport. More specifically, Chadwick is currently engaged in research focused on brands, sponsors, fans and social media.

A significant part of his work is undertaken in an Asian context, with a strong but not exclusive focus on China. Most notably, he has researched and written extensively on China and Chinese football, including on fan (consumer) behaviour, perceptions of sponsorship among Chinese people, and the activities of online brand communities in football. In addition, Chadwick writes, comments and consults extensively on the significant changes taking place in Chinese football.

Among the organisations he has worked with on research and other projects relating to China, are FC Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Nielsen Research, the Deutsche Fussball Bund, the Chinese Football Association, Octagon Marketing, China Everbright, Sina, Tencent, the BBC and the British Council. He has also written columns on Chinese football for Newsweek, Reuters, China Daily, and Asia and the Pacific Policy Society.


Alan Bairner

Educated at the universities of Edinburgh and Hull where he was awarded a PhD in political theory for his thesis on Antonio Gramsci's theory of the state, Alan Bairner is Professor of Sport and Social Theory at Loughborough University. He has written extensively on the relationship between sport and national identity in Europe, North America and Asia. He is co-author of Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland (1993) and author of Sport, Nationalism and Globalization: European and North American Perspectives (2001).

He also edited Sport and the Irish: Histories, Identities, Issues (2005) and co-edited Sport in Divided Societies (1999), The Bountiful Game? Football Identities and Finances (2005), The Politics of the Olympics: a survey (2010) and the Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics (2017). He is the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science and serves on the editorial boards of the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, the Journal of Sport for Development and Soccer and Society.

Andrea Bisceglia

Andrea Bisceglia, sinologist and co-author of the book History of Chinese Football - From the beginning until now. After a bachelors degree in Chinese language and culture and a masters degree in international relations both at the University of Turin, he moved to China for three years. He got a master degree in China studies at the University of Zhejiang and he started his football career focusing on China in Hangzhou. He is currently involved in several national and international youth football develepment projects. He lives in Turin and works for a Serie A soccer club.

Ben Bland

Ben Bland is a China correspondent for the Financial Times, based in Hong Kong. He has led the FT's in-depth coverage of China’s multi-billion dollar football investment boom, from the import of big-name players to the acquisition of leading clubs in Europe and the question of how politics and sport interact under Communist rule.

He has interviewed a wide-range of people in the game, from leading players in the Chinese Super League such as Eran Zahavi to prominent football investors including Li Ruigang of China Media Capital and City Football Group.

A lifelong Brentford fan, Ben has been a foreign correspondent in Asia for a decade and was previously the FT's bureau chief in Indonesia and Vietnam, where he also reported on the growing effort by European football clubs to tap into the Asian market. Ben's first book – Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China's Shadow – was published by Penguin in 2017.

David Cockayne

David is Senior Lecturer in Business and Sports Management at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on the conceptualisation and evaluation of international sports markets from an interdisciplinary perspective. As part of an industry-led academic career, David has spent much time working in China, teaching at Tsinghua University (2006), University of Shanghai Science and Technology (2009-2013). He has also worked with a range of international organisations on projects relating to the business of football in China including Tottenham Hotspur FC, Everton FC, Adidas China, Reebok Crossfit, the British Chamber of Commerce (Shanghai), and British Council (Shanghai).

Tom Elsden

Tom Elsden is the Senior Client Manager at Mailman, a China sports marketing agency. Based in Shanghai, Tom is managing some of the world's largest sports organisations, clubs and talent to grow their business in China. He is regularly featured in global news publications, including the Financial Times, CNN and others. Tom is currently focusing on the growth of German football in China, and how the league and clubs can stand apart from their European counterparts.

Nicholas Gineprini

Nicholas Gineprini works for the Italy China Link Association, specialising in football cooperation via the project ICFF Club (Italy China Football Frienship Club). Nicholas is a writer and a journalist. In 2015 he wrote published "The Chinese dream: History and economy of Chinese football" in Italian. He is editor-in-chief of "Blog Calcio Cina" the first and only italian website dedicated to Chinese football. He also contributes to the magazine "Cina in Italia" and the websites L'Ultimo Uomo and Wild East Football.

Keunsu Han

Keunsu Han (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the sport management programme at Towson University, USA, and a visiting scholar in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, his research focuses on soft power and sport mega-events in Asia.

Kihan Kim

Kihan Kim (PhD, The University of Texas at Austin, US) is a professor of Global Sport Management program of Seoul National University (SNU) in Korea. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Global Sport Management, and Secretary-General and Vice President of the Korean Society for Sport Management (KSSM). He is on editorial boards of several globally recognized journals such as International Journal of Advertising, and International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship. He has advised, consulted and collaborated with such organizations as Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and the Korea e-Sports Association (KESPA). He also writes columns on major newspapers in Korea including the Dong-A Ilbo and the Hankook-Ilbo. He has research specialties in sport media and communication, sport industry, sport marketing and consumer psychology, and advertising and public relations in sport contexts.

Thilo Kunkel

Dr Thilo Kunkel is an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Sport Management at Temple University. His research is positioned on the intersection of marketing and strategic management, where he analyses sport markets and consumer behavior toward sport organisations. He uses analytics to provide insights into the positioning of brands in a competitive environment, with a focus on soccer leagues, teams, sponsors, and athletes; and examines consumer engagement within mobile apps to provide insights into user behavior, app development, and monetization. Dr Kunkel has consulted sport teams, sponsors, mobile app developers, and athletes on their brand positioning, fan engagement, and sponsorship activation.

Seungbum Lee

Seungbum Lee (PhD, University of Minnesota) is an Associate Professor in the School of Sport Science and Wellness at the University of Akron. His research interests include outsourcing, sales, branding, and neuro marketing in the context of sport. He is also interested in soccer labor migration to the Chinese Super League (CSL) and the effects of CSL on the Asian Champions League as well as other Asian football leagues.

Bo Li

Dr. Bo Li is an assistant professor of Sport Leadership and Management at Miami University (OH). His research interests lie in the intersection of digital media, mass media, consumer behaviors and service quality. Within this area, his research has focused on two aspects. The first aspect is to investigate the emerging use of digital media as a communication and marketing tool for sport organisations, athletes, media professional and sport customers. The other aspect is to examine the mediation of media customers through discourse. 

Emma Lupano

Emma Lupano is a researcher in Chinese language and culture at the University of Milan. Her interests lie in the relationship between the institutional and the media discourses in China, professional practice and genres in Chinese journalism, and the cultural and political aspects of Chinese sport, with a focus on China's discourse on the development of football. She previously worked at Peking University and was a fellow at the China Media Project (University of Hong Kong). She has been a professional journalist for 20 years and has covered six Olympic Games. She has also worked with Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily Online. She is the author of two books on Chinese media and journalism and is in the editorial board of the review Orizzonte Cina. She is member of the European Association for Chinese Studies.

Aidan Mullally

Aidan is Head of Business Development at Tottenham Hotspur. He has been at the club since 2011 following six years as a Strategy Manager at Deloitte. Aidan is responsible for the club's commercial programme which includes coordination of the club's international development initiatives. His career has seen him develop and deliver projects across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North America and Africa.

Gianluigi Negro

Gianluigi Negro is a Post Doc Reseracher at Univeristà della Svizzera Italiana (USI), Faculty of Communication Sciences, his studies focuses on the Chinese Internet regulation and new Web 2.0 platforms. He is editor assistant at China Media Observatory (CMO) at Università della Svizzera Italiana. Previously he had been working at the General Consulate of Italy in Guangzhou and at China-Italy Chamber of Commerce as Publication and Media Relations. He has been a freelance journalist for several Italian newspapers and magazines focusing his articles on the Chinese Internet developments, Chinese 2.0 platforms and Chinese media system. His background is in contemporary Chinese studies and political sciences. He is member of the Italian Association of Chinese Studies and Global Internet Governance Academic Network (Giga-Net). He is in the editorial board of

He had already published his researches on peer review journals such as Journalism, Post-Colonial Studies and Communication, Politics and Culture.

Joshua I. Newman

Joshua I. Newman (PhD, University of Maryland) is Director of the Center for Sport, Health, and Equitable Development and Professor of Sport, Media, and Cultural Studies at Florida State University and affiliated international scholar of distinction at Shanghai University of Sport. He has published two books and over 75 articles and chapters on issues related to cultural politics and economic sociology of sport and physical activity. His work has been published in top international journals such as the Sociology of Sport Journal, Body and Society, Qualitative Inquiry, and the Journal of Sport and Social Issues. He is on the editorial boards of Communication and Sport and the Sociology of Sport Journal. He is currently President-Elect of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). His work has been cited in TIME Magazine, the Washington Post, NPR, and Buzzfeed. His most recent research is on event politics, celebrity culture, and the cultural economy of football in China.

Martyn Pearce

Martyn is based at Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. He is the editor of Policy, the presenter of the site's podcast series, and managing editor of the academic journal Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies. A former journalist, television researcher and newspaper editor, Martyn's focus is Asia-Pacific public policy and he has a keen interest in sports policy in the region, particularly China's football ambitions. In addition to a love of public policy, he is a lifelong fan of Crystal Palace.

James Porteous

James is former Assistant Sports Editor at the South China Morning Post, the leading English language newspaper in Asia. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2010, he has covered sport in mainland China, with a focus on the intersections between sport, politics and commerce. A frequent visitor to mainland China, he closely monitors the country's soccer scene and regularly reports on the latest developments.

Haozhou Pu

Haozhou Pu (PhD, Florida State University) is an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at University of Dayton, USA. His research focuses on mega-events, celebrity culture, globalization, sustainability, and fandom. His work has been published in Sociology of Sport Journal, Communication and Sport, Sport in Society, and International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship. He is currently working on the legacy governance of the 2022 Winter Olympics and identity dynamics of Chinese football fans. Dr Pu has been a long-term supporter of Sichuan F.C. (his hometown team) and Arsenal.

Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett

Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett is Director at the China-Britain Football Centre. The China-Britain Football Centre has been set up to better connect the UK and China through football, working with local governments, clubs and organisations in both countries to develop strategic opportunities that support China's football ambitions and utilise UK expertise. She tweets @chinabritainfc

Sascha L. Schmidt

Sascha L. Schmidt is a senior professor and director of the Center for Sports and Management at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Dusseldorf (Germany). The "Future of Sports" being one of his key research areas he analyzes the Chinese soccer market and compares consumer behavior in China with other markets such as US, Germany, Japan and South Korea. He recently co-authored the Harvard Business School case study "Bayern Munich in China" and the CB Research Report "Dancing with the dragon - The quest for the Chinese football consumer".

Eric C. Schwarz

Eric has been an academician and practitioner in sport business management for over 20 years. He currently is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Management and Program Chair of the Postgraduate Courses in Sport Business and Integrity at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, as well as the Research Group Leader for Sport Business, Policy, and Integrity with the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL). Eric was involved with the public relations efforts for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics bid through his consulting role as Marketing Director for Sports Features Communications. In addition, he has been a Visiting Lecturer and Researcher at Shanghai University of Sport.

Giulia Sciorati 

Giulia Sciorati is a PhD candidate at the School of International Studies, University of Trento, Italy. Her research focuses on the link between China's counter-terrorism policy, and international security institutions in Central Asia. Her interests lie in the relationship between Chinese investments in low-profile Italian football teams, and China-Italy trade relations.

Brian Soebbing

Brian Soebbing is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. His broad research interest explores the strategic behavior of sports organisations and their constituents. Prior research of Soebbing's explored such behaviors as the determinants of coaching succession and its impact on the organisation, ticket pricing behavior of sports clubs, and incentives for teams and individuals within professional sports leagues. His research has been published is journals such as Economics Letters, Economic Inquiry, Contemporary Economic Policy, Urban Studies, Journal of Sport Management, and Journal of Sports Economics.

Yiran Su

Yiran Su is a PhD candidate in the Fox School of Business at Temple University, USA. She studies personal branding, digital marketing, and sponsorship. Her interests in soccer include the psychological processes governing how fans build a self-brand connection with their team; and how teams can capitalize on fans' social media behaviour in a digital era. Her current research project compares the motivations and behaviours between Chinese and American soccer fans. She tweets @laylayrs.

Tien-Chin Tan

Tien-Chin Tan is Professor of Sport Sociology and Policy at National Taiwan Normal University where he is also a Director of Graduate Institute of Sport, Leisure and Hospitality Management. His main research interests are public policy for sport, particularly in the areas of sport development, elite sport development; youth sport; and school-based sport policy in Taiwan and China.

He has published articles in variety of journals, including The China Quarterly, Journal of Sport Management, the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, The International Journal of the History of Sport and International Journal of Sport Policy. He is a corresponding editor of the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. Dr Tan is also an associate editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science and of the Journal of Physical Activity and Exercise Science, published by the Taiwan Society of Physical Activity and Exercise Science.

Nick Trudgen

Nick Trudgen is chief consultant and co-founder of the Sports Group at Beijing DHH Law Firm. Nick is also a member of DHH's International Department, based at the firm's Shanghai and Beijing offices. He is also a PhD researcher at the Center for Intellectual Property Law at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Law, and an assistant editor of the Asian Journal of Law and Society published by Cambridge University Press.

Johan van de Ven

Johan is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research focuses on the interaction between central government and private enterprise, with a specific focus on investment in football. Before coming to Fletcher, Johan researched reforms to China's football governance system at China Policy, a research consultancy in Beijing. Johan first became interested in football in China after watching Beijing Guoan at the Workers' Stadium while studying at Peking University.

Xueli Wang

Dr Xueli Wang is an Associate Professor of Department of Leadership and Organization Management in the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University. Her interests span organisation change, strategic human resource management and organisational culture in sporting and non-sporting contexts in China.

Nicholas Watanabe

Nicholas Watanabe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management at the University of South Carolina. Dr Watanabe's research focuses on economics, management, and communication in sport, and has published in: Journal of Sport Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, International Journal of Sport Finance, and Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics Research, including several articles focused on the economics of professional soccer in China and Japan. Dr Watanabe has previously lectured at Beijing Sports University, and is currently involved in multiple projects examining the intersection of sport business and society in China.

Mike Wragg

Mike is Executive Vice President and Global Head of Research for the Sports and Entertainment Division at Nielsen. Mike is responsible for all aspects of Nielsen Sports' global research capability, helping the largest organisations in the sports, leisure and entertainment industry – and the consumer brands that partner with them - make better commercial decisions through deep insight into their stakeholders, fans and competitors. Mike's team around the world work very closely with the largest parts of the global football infrastructure: FIFA, UEFA, all the major leagues, the teams with the largest fan bases globally and in China. Nielsen has been operating in China for decades, with a large commercial research team distributed across offices in several major cities.

Muye Yao

Muye was educated at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Indiana University Bloomington in sports marketing. He has been involved professionally in Chinese sport, especially the football industry, for more than a decade. He has worked as project manager or core members for football events including World Football Fandom Expo, Manchester United China Tour and Bayern Munich China Tour. He has also served Chinese football clubs including Chongqing Lifan FC and Shandong Luneng FC for their club marketing consultancy services. He is co-founder and COO of a football event and player agency based in Chengdu (his hometown), partly aims to serve young and semi-professional football players in China, and partly to host football amateur leagues and other events.

Muye is also a Certified Chinese FA football player intermediary. His interests in Chinese football include FA policy, marketing strategy of Chinese professional clubs and leagues, player development and Chinese football's cooperation with other countries.

Yupei Zhao

Dr Yupei Zhao is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Communication and Design an Assistant Professor in the Institute of State Governance at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. She is co-founder of the UK-China Media and Communication Association and her research interests include International Communication and New Media. Her interest in Chinese football includes fan cultures and communications between clubs and fans.

Tobias Zuser

Tobias Zuser is a researcher based in Hong Kong, focusing on the intersections between sports, culture, policy, and politics in the Greater China region. Over the last few years he has also conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork with local fan groups. Originally trained in the field of arts and sports management in Austria, Tobias has worked for more than three years in Beijing before returning to academia in 2012. Since then he has published i.a. for the European Union on his industry insights. He regularly appears as commentator on Hong Kong's public radio broadcaster RTHK for anything related to Chinese football, and runs the Hong Kong football podcast.


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