From the People's Daily app.
This is Story in the Story.
As the 2018 World Cup is beginning to warm up, soccer fans from around the world are taking part in the quadrennial celebration of the sport in Russia’s capital Moscow. It is the first time the country was granted the right to host the FIFA World Cup.
Thirty-two teams are competing for the ultimate World Cup Trophy in a month-long time, from June 14 to July 15. For being the host, the Russian team is automatically qualified in the tournament, representing Europe along with 13 others. Five national teams will represent Asia, another five for Africa, five for South America, and three for North America.
Although there’s some distance to travel for China to come up on the stage of international soccer, the country has a long history of enthusiasm for the sport. It is estimated that roughly 1 billion Chinese will be viewing this year’s game.
In today’s Story in the Story, we will find out the many ways China is making its presence in this year’s World Cup.
China's national team did not qualify for the tournament this year. However, 88 young Chinese soccer players arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to serve as ball boys and assistants during the tournament, the Guangzhou Daily reported on Thursday.
"The time difference between China and Russia is just five hours, so I can just watch most of the games at midnight, no need to stay up late," Hu Yu, a Beijing soccer fan, told the Global Times.
Some Chinese soccer fans are not satisfied with just watching the games on television. About 100,000 Chinese will travel to Russia, according to Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency.
"Although the Chinese team did not make it to the World Cup, the game is full of Chinese elements," a sports marketing expert said.
Chinese company Kayford is providing official licensed products, including the World Cup mascot Zabivaka the wolf. Kayford also has exclusive rights to produce and sell official products that include plush toys, cups, key rings and jerseys.
Chinese companies Vivo, Hisense, Yadea and Dalian Wanda have been buying up and offering ticket packages, news site thepaper.cn reported.
Video-streaming company Youku announced last month it had acquired the broadcast rights of 2018 World Cup in China.
For the first time, soccer fans in China are able to watch all 64 matches live on Youku’s mobile and personal computer apps.
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ziyi Zeng and Lance Crayon. Music by: bensound.com)