The Most Popular Sports Story From the Weekend Had Nothing to Do With NFL Football

 

Wu Lei2

When Wu Lei became the first Chinese international to score a goal against Barcelona, a trend on Weibo hit 370 million views.  That is more than the entire total of the US population, so I assume it was more popular than anything NFL-related on the internet.  Apologies if I am wrong.  

After watching the goal, I am now fully onboard with Chinese fans in saying that Wu Lei is my new favorite Chinese player.  It was a true beauty…

The time and score of the game.  The through ball.  The strike.  The Chinese dude in a Barca jersey going ape shit even though it meant Madrid caught up to them for first place.

This dude in the stands who just started screaming ‘Wu Lei Wu Lei Wu Lei’ over and over again before he even got the ball.

Everything about it was pretty wild.  My favorite by though, was this tribute video afterwards:

https://twitter.com/manizuela/status/1213579947333365761?s=21

Espanyol is still in last place, but there’s still half the season left to play and they got a new coach who is smart enough to give our boy Wu Lei more minutes.  They’re also qualified for the Europa knockouts, so Champion’s League for next year is still on the table.

In the meantime, they have quite the marketing asset.  Wu Lei’s debut last year, despite being only 12 minutes, garnered 40M total views in China.  For reference, that is twice the number of viewers for the GoT finale.  For La Liga as a whole, its digital following in China almost doubled (82%) last year because of Wu Lei alone.