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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 14th June


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


📰 Key Headlines: Paris 2024: why Chinese brands are betting on sports over stars, EURO 2024 broadcast deals agreed in Japan, Alibaba named EURO 2024 e-commerce partner in China, Formula E expands to Tokyo, LaLiga launches Youth Tournament in Indonesia, 7-Eleven releases KBO pro baseball cards, and blending sports with travel - Chinese fans set sights on Paris 2024

 

🗞️ Key Industry News


Paris 2024: Why Chinese Brands Are Betting on Sports Over Stars

Chinese brands are increasingly turning to athletes for endorsements before the Olympics, seeking to avoid the pitfalls associated with celebrity scandals and capitalize on the positive image of sports figures. Read more on Sixth Tone (English)


💡 Our Take: Chinese brands have shifted away from paying millions of dollars for celebrities where all too often their investments have gone up in smoke due to scandals and negative headlines - sports offers a much safer space. With local sports stars on the rise across the likes such as tennis, table tennis, badminton, and a summer Olympics on the doorstep, athletes should find and seek more opportunities with this summer's loaded events incoming.

 

Late EURO 2024 Deals Agreed in Japan with Wowow, Abema

UEFA has finalised its broadcast deals in major markets ahead of this Friday’s kick-off. EURO 2024 will be Wowow’s eighth successive Championships, whilst Abema will stream all 51 matches for free, of which 15 will be in Japanese and the remaining 36 in English. Read more on SportBusiness (English)


Alibaba Named Official E-commerce Partner for EURO 2024 in US, China

The global e-commerce platform Alibaba.com has been named the official B2B e-commerce partner for the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament in the United States and China. The exclusive deal will “create a variety of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises on Alibaba.com to leverage the increased demand around the tournament.” Read more on SportBusiness (English)


💡 Our Take: China isn’t competing in the 2024 EUROs, yet that doesn’t mean the tournament won’t be of interest to football fans in the country. Chinese football fans are avid followers of European football clubs and players, with many of them having millions of followers on their China-specific social channels. Just as with the FIFA World Cup and Olympics, we expect huge engagement and trending topics from the EUROs to be headlining social platforms. All Chinese brands associated with the tournament, such as Alibaba and BYD, will undoubtedly gain mass exposure in their home country and globally throughout the upcoming showpiece tournament.


Expanded Formula E Season to Feature Tokyo Double Header

The electric racing series has announced the provisional calendar for its 11th season, with 17 races across 11 cities in an expanded programme. The 2024-25 season kicks off in São Paulo on December 7 and will take in a doubleheader in Tokyo, as well as a return of Jakarta to the schedule. Read more on SportBusiness (English)


LaLiga Launches The First LaLiga Youth Tournament in Indonesia

The Spanish league is collaborating with local promoter Footballicious to launch the youth tournament for the first time in Indonesia. The event will be held in Yogyakarta on 3-4 August, whilst the best players from this tournament will later depart for Spain to attend training camps with select Spanish clubs. Read more at Detik (Indonesian)


💡 Our Take: After being consistent with various events in Indonesia as well as the success of LaLiga Academy over the years, LaLiga is increasingly expanding promotions through their popular LaLiga Youth Tournament. It gets deeper because LaLiga is not only focusing on Jakarta as the capital, but has shifted to another big city with a lot of football passion, Yogyakarta. Aside from being beneficial for the development of the local grassroots, this event is also one of LaLiga's ways to increase awareness of its brand for future generations in Indonesia.


7-Eleven Releases KBO Pro Baseball Cards

The convenience store 7-Eleven continues its foray in the popularity of sports cards by releasing photo cards of Korean Baseball Organisation (KBO) players, following K-League players. As professional sports players enjoy as much popularity as celebrities regardless in Korea, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven are targeting fans' demand for sports goods by utilizing their national store network. Read more om Newsis (Korean)


💡 Our Take: 7-Eleven is leading the introduction and efforts to grow the collectible athlete cards culture in Korea, starting with the KBO, and seeing incredible success right away. This is not only a testament to the fervent support and popularity of baseball in Korea, but also presents the likely possibility of collectible cards, in general, becoming a lucrative hobby, like it is in America, allowing sports culture to spread further into the mainstream and to those previously not invested in sports.


AFC Lands Long-term Indian Rights Deal with FanCode

FanCode has secured exclusive streaming rights to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) properties from 2025 to 2028 in a landmark long-term deal in India for the governing body. The deal encompasses all AFC national team and club competitions throughout the cycle. Read more on SportBusiness (English)


In China, A Search for Identity Boosts Lululemon, Premium Sportswear Brands

Premium sportswear brands are enjoying robust growth in China as they take to directly courting their main customers. Sportswear is a rare bright spot in China's sluggish consumer market, as health and wellness have become a priority for aspirational, middle-class consumers post-pandemic, with many people getting into activities such as yoga, hiking, and running for the first time. Read more on Reuters (English)


Sports Tourism: Sports and Business Go Hand in Hand

Sports tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in China’s travel industry. Beyond the action on the court, sporting events have a profound ripple effect on local economies, injecting vitality into host cities and stimulating various sectors. Read more on CGTN (English)


World Athletics Announces Five-Year Host Broadcasting Services Deal with Tata Communications

As the host broadcaster of World Athletics Series events, Tata Communications will craft immersive coverage, and deliver customised, world-class live content across continents. Read more on World Athletics (English)


Manchester City Announces Global Partnership with JinkoSolar

The club will collaborate with China-based JinkoSolar to ‘connect and engage with fans globally to jointly promote the use of solar energy,’ as well as educate fans on ‘how they can play a part towards a sustainable future.’ Read more on Sports Industry Group (English)


Pepsi Zero Sugar Leverages ‘Evening Economy’ for Marketing During UCL

For the 2024 UEFA Champions League Final, Pepsi Zero Sugar launched a 3-hour live-streaming campaign before kick-off, setting up live-streaming rooms on Douyin, Weibo, and WeChat Live. Read more on DAO (English)

 

🤔 Opinion


Blending Sports With Travel, Chinese Fans Set Sights on Paris 2024With domestic travel platforms offering comprehensive packages, Chinese sports enthusiasts are increasingly combining their passion for athletics with travel plans to Europe for the Paris Olympics. Read more on Sixth Tone (English)

 

🎮 Esports


Weibo Gaming (WBG) Partners With Xtreme Gaming and DKZ 

The Chinese esports organization announced a partnership deal with two Chinese teams: Dota 2 team Xtreme Gaming (XG) and StarCraft II team DKZ. XG will rebrand to WBG.XG, while DKZ will rebrand to WBG, becoming a StarCraft II division of WBG. Read more on Esports Advocate (English)


Arcane Will be Brought to Life with ‘Immersive Experience’ in China Next Year

Riot Games China is moving forward with an ambitious project to transform the animated series Arcane into an immersive live experience. Scheduled to debut in 2025 at the Shanghai Hotel, this event aims to bring the vibrant worlds of Piltover and Zaun to life. Read more on Dotesports (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 160/90, Endeavor’s global cultural marketing agency. Learn more about our story here.

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