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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 12th April

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from Asia.

📰 Key Headlines: Hong Kong Sevens bids farewell to Hong Kong stadium, China’s female warriors fo head-to-head at UFC 300, Hong Kong government acquires Olympics media rights, ATP lands Yokahama tire deal, World of Warcraft to return to China. 


🗞️ Key Industry News

New Chapter Awaits for the Hong Kong Sevens

The Hong Kong Sevens closed in a barrage of fireworks and confetti, as New Zealand’s men and women successfully defended their titles in front of a sell-out crowd. Expected to move to Kai Tak Sports Park next year, city leader John Lee Ka-chiu said this weekend’s tournament at Hong Kong Stadium, its home in since 1982, had taken on a “special significance”. Read more on SCMP (English)

💡Our Take: The end of the Hong Kong Sevens at the Hong Kong Stadium era for one of the most popular and highly anticipated sports events to take place in the region in decades. Hong Kong is adamant it can reignite the region to become a world-class sports city once again, and the soon-to-be-open Kai Tak Sports Park, the future home of the Hong Kong Sevens, looks set to be the perfect catalyst to bring the region back to its former glories. 


China's UFC Warriors Proud as Punch

With the eyes of China and the rest of the world on this event, strawweight queen Zhang Weili and challenger Yan Xiaonan are embracing their historic all-Chinese title fight at UFC 300 as a proud showcase of Chinese women's strength and courage. Read more on China Daily (English)

💡 Our Take: Two world-class female fighters from China battling it out for the strawweight belt at UFC 300 in Las Vegas is going to be a monumental moment for China and its MMA fans. It also highlights how far Chinese talent has come in the sport, a co-main fight on the biggest UFC PPV to date. China Power will be front and center this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada. 


Hong Kong Government Repeats ‘One-off’ Olympics Rights Acquisition

Hong Kong’s government is stepping in to acquire exclusive rights to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The government intends to sublicense the rights to four free-to-air broadcasters: TVB, ViuTV, Hoy TV, and government-owned RTHK. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

ATP Continues Sponsorship Drive with New Yokohama Tire Deal

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has announced a new multi-year agreement with Yokohama Tire in its latest effort to ramp up its sponsorship portfolio. The Japanese firm becomes the ATP Tour’s first-ever ‘Official Tire Partner,’ joining as a third-tier ‘Gold Partner’. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

Luxury: Sports, China, and Diversification - Key Influencer Marketing Strategies

In its quest for growth, the luxury industry is increasingly turning to influencer marketing to engage with discerning yet ever-changing consumers. A report compiled by Luxurynsight data analysts and Traackr, platform specialists in influencer campaign management, reveals how brands have strategically tapped into the Chinese market in 2023. Read more on Fashion Network (English)

For China’s Factories, the Paris Olympics Have Already Started

In China’s manufacturing hubs, “Olympic fever” has already struck. Merchants in Yiwu - a city in eastern China famous for its massive wholesale goods markets - are reporting a surge in orders from France, with local factories rushing to churn out everything from tricoloured inflatable thunder sticks to novelty Eiffel Tower ornaments. Read more on Sixth Tone (English) 

FC Köln Delegation Visits Japan to Strengthen Relations with Local PartnersFC Köln has been active on the Japanese market for more than five years, and now another important milestone will follow this week. From 5 to 11 April, a five-member delegation led by FC Managing Director Markus Rejek and Head of the Youth Development Lukas Berg will travel to Japan to pursue the internationalisation strategy of the club and the Bundesliga. Read more on FC Koeln (English)


💡 Our Take: Since 1977 when the first Japanese player in the Bundesliga joined the German team, several activities such as football camps, collaborations with local football teams, and meet-ups with local political figures have taken place. This highlights the important relationship between football clubs in Germany and Japanese players as the Bundesliga is one of the European leagues with more Japanese players than the rest.

Government to Transform South Korea’s Sports Sector into a Future Growth Engine

The government will support the fast-growing sports industry to turn it into a new engine of economic growth. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on April 9 released its fourth mid- to long-term plan for promoting the sector from this year through 2028 as a five-year blueprint for the vision and direction of sports policy. Read more on (English)

💡 Our Take: As the sport industry in Korea grows, it’s not surprising to see the government expanding its investment in the sector. From many local sports stars putting Korea on the map by doing well in foreign leagues to hosting global sporting events, awareness of sport in South Korea is on the rise. These events and athletes have helped the country become known in the sporting world, supporting this new government investment.

Carabao Drinks Organise Football Viewing Party for Thai FansThe Carabao beverage company launched the campaign of "Cheer football, Cheer Bao" by organising an event to cheer for football in the "Red War" game last weekend between Manchester United vs Liverpool. A large number of KOLs and influencers were present with many football fans in Thailand participating in this event. Read more on Main Stand (Thai)

💡 Our Take: After success with energy drinks and as a sponsor of the English "Carabao Cup," Carabao has launched beer products in Thailand, and it looks like they are moving forward with more marketing activities, especially football fans in Thailand. Focusing on football cheering activities allows customers to more quickly sample the newly launched beer products on a wider scale.

Sportradar Extends Partnership with CBA League in China

Sportradar has announced an extension to its partnership with the Chinese Men’s Professional Basketball League (CBA League). The collaboration aims to help broaden the global presence of the basketball league and to ensure integrity is maintained within Chinese basketball. Read more on Gambling Insider (English)


🎮 Esports

World of Warcraft to Return to China

Popular games such as World of Warcraft will be back in China this summer, according to Chinese video games giant NetEase. Last year, NetEase and game developer Activision Blizzard ended their 14-year partnership due to a disagreement over intellectual property control. Read more on BBC (English)


🤔 Opinion

China’s $66B Gaming Goldmine: Are Brands Missing Out?

As brands flock to global gaming channels like Roblox and Fortnite, political sensitivities, regulations, lack of understanding, and cultural differences are holding them back from entering China’s booming domestic equivalents. Read more on Jing Daily (English)


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Founded in China in 1999, Mailman has evolved to become one of Asia’s leading sports digital agencies. We are digital marketers who help sports rights holders enhance their local brand equity and create sustainable presences. We exist at the intersection of digital & technology, helping the world’s biggest sports, entertainment & lifestyle brands build successful businesses in international growth markets. Mailman is part of 160over90, Endeavor’s global cultural marketing agency. Learn more about our story here.

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