n a remarkable show of coordination and indignation, supporters of a French football club have ensured that their team will gain no new fans from China.
During a French Ligue 1 match on Saturday afternoon between Lyon and Nantes, one section of the crowd held up colored signs to form the Tibetan flag, as well as the words “Free Tibet” and “Free Ligue 1.”
— tshakya (@Lhatseri) September 30, 2019
The display was coordinated by supporters of Lyon who declared that it was a protest against the league’s crass market-oriented approach which targets viewers all the way across the world while aggravating those at home with irregular start times.
This particular match saw its kick-off time rescheduled to 1:30 pm so that it could be broadcast live in China.
— 20 Minutes Lyon (@20minuteslyon) September 28, 2019
Ligue 1 is the third most popular foreign football league in China, behind England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, and it’s looking to move up, signing a live broadcast deal last year with Suning Sports and even playing a preseason match in Shenzhen.
Of course, as the Lyon fans recognize, live broadcasts of the matches in China will be difficult if arenas continue to turn into giant Tibetan flags.