The World Cup is over and the excitement around football disappears
Every four years when the World Cup takes place, Taiwan like the rest of the world becomes excited about football for a change. The majority of people you will meet throughout your day will be talking about the World Cup.
This happens every four years in Taiwan as people who barely show any shred of interest in the sport at any other time in their life will start to feel the excitement around the World Cup. However, once the World Cup is over, the interest is gone and everyone forgets about football for another four years.
Taiwan pulls in their biggest attendances during World Cup qualifying
If you take out Iraq from Taiwan’s last World Cup qualifying group, then the draw was absolutely perfect for Taiwan. Their group consisted of Iraq, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, all of those countries enjoy relatively close proximity to Taiwan, but better still Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have a large expat population working in Taiwan.
That large expat population ensured that the games had some of the biggest attendances at games in Taiwan since I moved here, plus the away contingent of fans made an awfully good atmosphere, the kind which is hardly seen at Taiwan’s national games regardless of the effort made by the tiny block of Taiwan Ultras lodged behind a goal.
The only blip on the draw was getting Iraq in the group as a top seed, Iraq is an excellent outfit in Asia and provide a brilliant test which Taiwan can learn from but they hardly generate much excitement for a Taiwanese football audience.
If Taiwan can draw Japan or South Korea as the top seeds in their World Cup Qualifying groups next time around that would be absolutely huge for Taiwan and generate maximum media attention, unlike any games before them. The only other country that could possibly generate such huge interest might be China, but I honestly think it would be best for Taiwan to avoid drawing China because it could become a huge mess.
Events and activities should have been organized throughout the World Cup
So you’re trying to promote football in a country where interest is lacking, you’re trying to promote the local league where interest is also currently lacking. You’re trying to bring in more sponsors and investment where it is obviously currently lacking.
You know that every time the World Cup is on Taiwan as a non-football country goes little nuts for the World Cup, so surely someone should realize maybe we should organize some events and activities around the World Cup.
Would it be difficult to get a big screen up somewhere like other countries? Maybe organize a kids World Cup or something where each team gets assigned a World Cup team. You could even boot a World Cup team out and pretend Taiwan are in the World Cup to generate more excitement among the kids if you wanted.
There are loads of other idea activities to try and generate interest in the league throughout the World Cup. Being honest even if you got 50 new fans who now like football surely it has to be worth it, no?
Why would it be worth it, because if these things are not done, then how exactly is interest supposed to be built in the league, and football here? With the proposed new stadiums and the proposal that the league will go professional then how can it even be a sustainable model if you’re not trying to generate interest through such activities focused around one of the only football events that get most of Taiwan talking about football?
Taiwan fail to capitalize on the World Cup’s potential
So Taiwan has again failed to capitalize on the one football event that gets most of Taiwan’s public talking about football. The World Cup is the only football tournament that is a big deal in Taiwan, and with some forward thinking, it would be possible to jump on the World Cup bandwagon to generate interest in the local game too.
More work needs to be done around the time period when the World Cup is on because these are the times when you can generate new fans instead of them just having a passing interest every four years.
Getting tickets for Taiwan’s World Cup qualifiers are extremely difficult because of the magic words – World Cup – but try and buy tickets for any other Taiwan match and there is no problem getting them at all. This must surely tell someone in the CTFA when they can maximise the advertising and promotion of local football. Unfortunately, the boat has again been missed, but the CTFA will have another chance because there isn’t long to wait between the World Cup ending and the start of the Asian World Cup qualifiers. Do I think the interest will be capitalised on, the easy answer to that would be no; however it’s obvious for all to see that there is no other time like the World Cup for promoting football in Taiwan. Unfortunately, the CTFA is either incapable, unwilling, not interested or have insufficient funds to run something like this.