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The Sportsfan's Abridged Guide to Professional Summer Sports


Sweaty nights with strangers and acquaintances, perhaps more than a few cocktails — we know that’s how your summer goes down in Shanghai. We’re referring, of course, to hanging out with your buddies on hot nights at Shanghai’s stadiums and watching pro sports. And as always when we talk China and sports, that means we’re mainly talking about football.

If you’re into matches that count, this Wednesday (June 19) at Shanghai Stadium, it’s the Asian Champion’s League. Jeonbuk Motors, a South Korean team from Jeonju and the most successful team on the Asian continent, is visiting Shanghai SIPG in the first of a two-leg tie in the ACL’s Round of 16. It’s at 8pm.

SIPG remains a favorite to win the Chinese Super League and will be playing all summer long at Shanghai Stadium. Across the city, hapless Shanghai Shenhua finds itself in the relegation zone. They’ll be trying to dig their way out of it at Hongkou Stadium.

But the local league is probably not what you’re focusing on if you’re a football fan. You’re thinking about the big boys, and even in an era when European teams regularly head east, this is a noteworthy summer.

In the International Champions Cup, a friendlies cash grab that spans the globe, Tottenham, Manchester United, Juventus and Inter will visit our lovely city. In the Asian Cup, four English Premier League teams — Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolverhampton — will strap it on.

All of this will be in the span of six days at Hongkou Stadium, and you’ll pay dearly for the privilege. The Asian Cup will be on Saturday, July 20. The Italian sides have at it on Wednesday, July 24, and UEFA Champions League finalist Tottenham will take on United on Thursday the 25th.

Besides football, Chinese sports are moribund in the summer.

The Chinese Basketball Association will have their draft in July but won’t start playing games until October. The local side, the Shanghai Sharks, will be looking to find a way to replace Jimmer Fredette’s 37 points a game. Fredette shakes and bakes now for the Phoenix Suns.

The World Snooker Shanghai Masters tournament is September 9. You laugh, but this may be the only country on earth where snooker is a serious, prime-time TV event. Tickets are available here.

Kunlun Red Star, the Kontinental Hockey League entry that played for most of three, weird years in Shanghai, appears to have finally carried through with their annual threat to move to Beijing. Their place on the ice will be filled at Feiyang Skating Center in Pudong by beer leagues.

And speaking of beer, you still have a chance Friday and perhaps Monday at 9am for a morning buzz as you watch one of the most bizarre NBA finals ever, the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Cages is the place to hide from your boss and SO while you watch Steph, Klay, Kawhi, The Other Gasol and Boogie — but not KD — battle in Oakland and Toronto.


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