Student Fundraising at Beijing University of Physical Education – A Practical Experience for Chinese Sports Management Students

Abstract

With the dramatic economic changes taking place in China there is a move to promote sports and the sports industry through individual and corporate support. Curriculum must be established on the university level to accommodate these needs. The purpose of this research was to investigate the interest in a sport event fundraising program by undergraduate and graduate students at Beijing University of Physical Education (BUPE), Beijing, China. Results indicate an interest in initiating fundraising events at the respective institutions. Students require education on potential careers in sports marketing and fundraising in order to enhance their potential success in the field.

Introduction

Sport administrators and marketers with skills to organize and administer clubs and sport events could lay the basis for future community sport structures in China (Boshoff, 1997). An important part of this effort would include education. There is a diversity of opportunities for the sport fundraiser in international sport. Because technology will continue to improve and trade barriers between countries will continue to decline, the opportunities in international sport will increase. To capitalize on these opportunities, the sport management student must become knowledgeable and sensitive to cultures of other countries.

Overview of History of Sports Industry in China

Like other enterprises, the sports industry has benefited from government directed initiatives. Unfortunately, financial support has decreased in recent years forcing people who work in sports related businesses to seek new fundraising opportunities. There were two methods of management that appeared during this era, one was to encourage the sport units with incentives to diversify management. The other was to draw funds from society, to find sponsorship for sports activities and high level sports teams. Therefore, many excellent sport teams were formed with corporate ties.

In addition to the fact that China’s sport industry is in its infancy, there are many unique problems within the sports industry in China. One example is the imbalance in industry development, which is geographic-based. The sports industry has developed in metropolitan cities including Shanghai and Beijing whereas sports marketing initiatives in western and rural-China have not yet been formed. Another example is that domestic sports enterprises are relatively small and cannot compete with the larger and established foreign sports corporations (Bao Mingxiao, personal communication, October 15, 1999).

“The concept of sport marketing is new in China and the size of the Chinese sport market is enormous. China has 22% of the world’s population; even if a portion of China became spenders on sport, it would increase consumers in the global marketplace by millions” (Hong, 1997).

An urgent call for promotion and development of sports commercial markets during the 1993 Chinese Sports Ministry Conference was therefore recognized. The Minister of Sport, Wu Shaozhu, claimed that the Chinese sports system must reform without delay.

The strategy of reform is to commercialize sport and to integrate sport into people’s daily life. This includes people paying for sport and exercise, privately sponsored sport, the club system, and promotion of sport commercial market (Hong, 1997). Two specific goals of the conference were to extend sport science, technology, and research, and to reform sport training systems along market lines. The administrative structure of the Chinese Sports Ministry suggests a commitment to Sport Administration education as it includes a department of Sports Education (Hong, 1997). Hong (1997) has reported an extensive review of the history of Sport Education in China.

When sports administration education in China started in 1988, there were only two schools (Beijing University of Physical Education and WuHan Institute of Physical Education) that implemented an undergraduate major in this area. Today there are six schools that provide sports administration education. This is where most of the sports administration courses are housed. There are no uniform curriculums as each school has different courses such as Sports Science, Sports Management, Sports Marketing, Statistics, Administration, Operational Research, Computer, Sports Conspectus, Sports Administrative Psychology, Sports Information, Communication, Knowledge and Basic Skill of Sports and Foreign Language (Yang Ping, personal communication, October 15, 1999). As seen there are no programs that utilize sports fundraising opportunities as part of the curriculum or the mere offering of a fundraising course.

Methods 

In May-July 2000 a 15-item questionnaire that investigated event management and fundraising topics was administered to undergraduate and graduate students from Beijing

University of Physical Education. Due to the investigative nature of the study, the investigators designed the questionnaire from their knowledge base in international sports marketing. Administrative Personnel at BUPE approved the questionnaire and participation was voluntary.

Facility Description

Beijing University of Physical Education was opened on Nov. 1st 1953 as a College of Physical Education located in the north part of Beijing. In 1956, the name of the institution was changed to Institute of Beijing Physical Education. It was changed to the present name in order to more accurately reflect its expanding role as the leader in teaching, research, and public service for the development of the national and global sports. One vital aspect of these efforts is to understand and educate the students and the public in the science and benefits of human movement. Now it has emerged as one of the key universities in China. This university offers programs from baccalaureate through the doctorate for more than 3,000 full-time students in 5 academic areas: Department of Physical Education, Department of Traditional Folk Sport, Department of Exercise Physiology, and College of Sport Management. There are about 400 faculty. Among them, two hundred are professors and associate professors, and about 200 are assistant professors and lecturers (Zhongyi Yuan, personal communication, August 31, 2000).

Results

Demographic Information

Demographic information on respondents is listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Graduate Status, Age, and Gender of Students from Beijing University of Physical Education, Beijing China

Frequency (n)
Percentage (%)
Graduate Status
under-graduate
14
24.56
graduate
43
75.44
Age
<20-24
52
91.23
25-30
4
7.02
>31
1
1.75
Gender
male
36
36.84
female
21
63.16

 

*10RMB approximates $1.25 US
**numerical value not provided, response stated that “a proper or an acceptable price” should be charged.

 

There were a total of 57 respondents (36M, 21F) to the questionnaire, 25% (n=14) undergraduate and 75% (n=43) graduate students. The majority (91%; n=52) of respondents were 18-24 years old, 7% (n=4) were 25-30, and 2% (n=1) were over 31. The majority (81%, n=46) of respondents were majoring in sport management, although other sport-related disciplines (sport biomedicine n=1, social sport n=3, sport training n=1, sport education n=1, sport psychology n=2, sport anatomy n=1, sport dance n=1, Chinese traditional medicine n=1) were represented (Table 2).

Table 2. Course of Study of Students from Beijing University of Physical Education, Beijing China

Course of Study
Frequency (n)
Percentage (%)
Sport Management
46
80.70
Sport Psychology
2
3.51
Sport Dance
1
1.75
Sport Training
1
1.75
Sport Education
1
1.75
Social Sport
3
5.26
Sport Anatomy
1
1.75
Chinese Traditional Medicine
1
1.75
Sport Biomedicine
1
1.75
Total
57
100

Event Management and Fundraising Topics Enthusiasm

Forty Six percent (n=26) of respondents had not taken coursework that addressed event management and fundraising topics. However, this did not deter their enthusiasm for such topics, as 72% (n=41) were interested in assisting in event management for sponsoring collegiate sport competitions, 58% (n=33) would be willing to work throughout the year to plan an event, and 25% (n=14) would be willing to enroll in a US-college sponsored internet course to help prepare students for sponsorship of an exhibition at their respective university. It is noted that forty-three respondents did not respond to the internet course question as they currently do not have access to the internet.

US Sports Interest

Eighty-six percent (n=49) of respondents reported that sponsoring a US collegiate sports team would be well received by students at their respective university. Respondents indicated that the sporting events that would receive the most attendance include men’s basketball (67%), baseball (42%), soccer (40%), and tennis (39%). Other sporting events, including track and field, and bowling only received 32% interest combined. Please note that respondents could choose various combinations of sporting events. The most effective methods for advertisement of an exhibition included television (77%), on the internet (68%), and by newspaper (49%). Please note that respondents could choose various combinations advertising and marketing.

Event Fundraising and Sport Management

The majority (72%; n=41) of respondents reported that spectators should be charged a fee to view a US sport exhibition. In regard to cost for attendance, there was a wide price range (3 to 100 RMB; 10 RMB approximates $1.25 US) that respondents reported as a reasonable charge; the highest frequency response (11%; n=6) was 10 RMB (Table 3). However, 32 respondents (56% of total) did not provide a numerical value, stating that “a proper or an acceptable price” should be charged. Respondents reported favorably (77%; n=44) that spectators would buy shirts, hats, and other memorabilia and food and soft drinks (70%; n=40) during the event.

Table 3. Respondent Report on Cost of Viewing a US-Sport Exhibition

Cost (China RMB)*
Frequency (n)
Percentage (%)
3
1
1.75
5
4
7.02
8
1
1.75
10
6
10.53
15
1
1.75
20
3
5.26
30
1
1.75
50
1
1.75
100
1
1.75
>100
3
5.26
Missing**
35
61.40
Total
57
100

Discussion

It is evident from the survey responses that there is an interest in implementing a fundraising event at Chinese Universities by Chinese sports management students. The majority of students participating in this study were male graduate students. In addition, most were sports management majors with some biomedicine majors. The majority of the students have not had any formal training or practical experience in fundraising or implementing an event. The students were interested in hosting a US athletic team for the purpose of gaining practical experience in fundraising and event management. Men’s basketball was seen as the team that would provide the greatest interest for students and the general public. Students determined that television, internet, and the newspaper would be the most effective means of advertising such an event. The student respondents indicated that spectators should be charged a fee for the event and that 5 to 10 RMB would be the most affordable price. Many of the respondents did not answer this question due to a lack of understanding of the event management process. Most indicated that memorabilia and food/soft drinks should be made available. The student’s interest in the aforementioned areas has been affected by the shift in economic policies and the open trade agreement. Chinese students now see the opportunity for economic gain through sports as seen on television and the web.
Most Chinese students are interested in pursuing an internet course in sport fundraising due to the global perspective that is being stressed by the Chinese government. In addition, young students have seen the fast development of sports in China along with increases in international exchange of sports activities therefore the interest in the field has obviously increased. The high interest in an international sport fundraising curriculum may reflect strategies being implemented by the Chinese Sports Ministry. In June of 1993, a conference titled “The Urgent Promotion and Development of Sports Business” addressed administrative restructuring of Chinese sport (Hong, 1997). This information may be a factor in the high interest of undergraduate and graduate Chinese sports management students towards sport fundraising education. Student interest in fundraising has also increased from proliferation of sporting events on Chinese television and the internet. The internet has increased and thus a wealth of information on sports is at students’ fingertips.

Summary

Curriculum in international sport fundraising adheres to the structure established by the Chinese Education Ministry in regard to the number of hours of credit. Education of Chinese undergraduate and graduate sports management students in the aforementioned academic discipline will serve as a base for overall understanding of the unique nature of sports fundraising. Practical experience gained from hosting an American Collegiate team will further strengthen the understanding of the fundraising process by Chinese students.

Due to the small sample size of this study, results should be interpreted with caution. However, the findings deserve reflection and consideration because it was found that Chinese undergraduate and graduate students have expressed interest in gaining practical experience in the area of fundraising by implementing an event at their respective institutions. A curriculum to fit the needs of both entities could be met and further enhanced by offering an international sports fundraising course over the internet and by offering practical experiences to the Chinese students by affording them the opportunity to host events. Further studies should increase sample size and include representation of many more colleges and universities in China.

Reference

Bao Mingxiao (personal communication, October 15, 1999).
Boshoff, Gary. “Barefoot” Sports Administrators: Laying the Foundation for Sports Development in South Africa. Journal of Sport Management, 1997:11 (1), 69-79.

Hong, Fan. Commercialism and Sport in China: Present Situation and Future Expectations. Journal of Sport Management. 1997:11 (4): 343-354.

Yang Ping (personal communication, October 15, 1999)

Zhongyi Yuan (personal communication, August 31, 2000)

Author’s Note:

Address correspondence to Dr. Overton, Laughlin Building 217D, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY 40351, phone 606-783-2176, FAX 606-783-5058,
e mail r.overton@morehead-st.edu

Reginald F. Overton, EdD, Assistant Professor of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Morehead State University
Brenda Malinauskas-Overton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sports Nutrition, Morehead State University
Zhongyi Yuan, Associate Professor, Beijing University of Physical Education

Print Friendly, PDF & Email