Interest in China ahead of the Catalan derby is sky-high with the network broadcasting the game expecting a bumper audience for the Camp Nou clash.
The arrival at Espanyol of Chinese player Wu Lei two months ago has generated a massive spike in interest in LaLiga in the Asian nation with interest running sky-high ahead of Wu Lei's first Catalan derby with a team from rights holders PPTV arriving in the Catalan capital to relay the action before and after Saturday's derby.
PPTV traditionally have one Spanish based representative but this individual will be complimented by a crew who arrived in Barcelona last Monday to bring the domestic audience a blow-by-blow account of how Wu Lei is preparing for the derby. A crew are based at Espanyol's training complex at the Ciudad Deportiva de Sant Adrià and have also spent time watching kit supplier Joma manufacture the Espanyol shirt along with a series of interviews with supporters, media and the player himself.
Keep calm ....
PPTV have been billing the derby with the same narrative relating to the Beijing Guoan-Shanghai Shenshua derby which divides passion in the Chinese Super League and are using a powerful black and white image of both players with the slogan: “Keep calm and watch Messi / Wu Lei”
The game starts in Barcelona at 16:15 which is 23:15 in continental China and outside the local prime time slot but Saturday's game nonetheless is expected to attract millions of viewers. Wu Lei's debut with Espanyol (against Villarreal) was watched by an audience of more than 10 million with the Chinese star only playing in the final minutes of the match.
Wu Lei scarf
“RCD Espanyol de Barcelona are anxious to harness the interest of their Chinese player" maintains the official club website and a Wu Lei scarf is the latest item of club merchandise celebrating the striker. "Wear it to the Camp Nou on Saturday" claim the Catalan club.