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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 15th March

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

📰 Key Headlines: Sports events boost Shanghai economy and job market, sports fund to enhance Singapore’s event hub reputation, KBO league gets streaming platform deal, China sports minister wants powerhouse sector by 2035, Zhuhai to stage first Davis Cup finals event, and Alibaba to invest in Hong Kong. 


🗞️ Key Industry News

Sports Events in Shanghai Generate Over $516m in Consumption

The 2023 Shanghai Sports Event Influence Assessment Report, published by the Shanghai Administration of Sports, Shanghai University of Sport, and Shanghai Oriental Sports Evaluation and Consultation Center, pointed out that the 118 events led to a direct economic influence of nearly $516m and created 32,268 job opportunities. Read more on China Daily (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: The upcoming F1 grand prix next month is the city’s biggest chance in years to showcase its capabilities on a global scale, especially as local favourite Zhou Guanyu will be lining up on the grid. Large investments from the Middle East and a rapidly growing Southeast Asia mean Shanghai and the rest of the major Chinese cities will have to also invest heavily to keep up with the rising competition. 


$165m Major Sports Event Fund to Enhance Singapore as Premier Events Hub

Following a week of Taylor Swift mania in Singapore, the Government is looking to build on the momentum and strengthen the Republic’s position as a choice destination for entertainment and sports events. To help achieve that goal, a $165m Major Sports Event Fund will be set aside over four years. Read more on Straits Times (English)

KBO League Boosts Revenues Through CJ ENM Digital Play

The Korean Baseball Organisation will receive a 30% increase in domestic rights fees for its top-tier league after media group CJ ENM secured exclusive streaming rights. CJ ENM will pay $34.2m per year for exclusive digital rights in South Korea to the KBO League, the country’s biggest domestic sports property, from 2024 to 2026. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

💡 Our Take: CJ ENM’s OTT platform houses mainly entertainment content, however, with many OTT platforms in Korea already, it’s viewed as having “limited content”. CJ ENM has joined the sports streaming game to expand its viewership after seeing the success of the sports streaming services of its competitor, Coupang Play, which is known for bringing teams to Korea such as Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain, and is set to host the MLB season opening in Korea. CJ ENM will be hopeful to host similar sporting events in the future.

Sports Minister Aims at Building Powerhouse Sector by 2035

Gao Zhidan highlighted the fight against corruption, promotion of mass fitness, and sports industry reforms, among other efforts, for realizing the goal of building a world sporting powerhouse by 2035. Read more on China Daily (English) and (Chinese)

China to Stage First Davis Cup Finals Event

The International Tennis Federation announced that China will host a Davis Cup Finals event for the first time, after confirming the venues for the 2024 Group Stage. The event at the Hengqin International Tennis Center in Zhuhai is a new addition for 2024. Read more on SportBusiness (English) 

Alibaba to Invest $640m In Hong Kong Content Industry

The funding will come via multiple divisions in Alibaba’s Digital Media and Entertainment Group, including Alibaba Pictures and streaming platform Youku. Read more on Deadline (English) and China News (Chinese)

TikTok Faces Ban in US if ByteDance Doesn’t Sell Controlling Stake

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly backed a bill that would see TikTok banned in the country unless its parent company ByteDance relinquishes its controlling stake in the business. The platform now has 150m active users in the US and is an increasingly effective fan engagement channel for the sports industry as it seeks to engage Gen Z audiences. Read more on SportsPro Media (English)

Xiaohongshu’s Push to Make Users Spend on its Platform

Launched in 2013 as a place for users to share things like travel and beauty tips, and acting as a conduit for lifestyle reviews, Xiaohongshu is again reshuffling its e-commerce ventures, hoping to transform into an e-commerce platform. Read more on Think China (English)

UIM F1H2O World Championship 2024 Successfully Held in Indonesia

The prestigious Powerboat racing event was successfully held for the second year in a row, taking place on Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world. The event reached 70k in attendance and involved the synergy of many local companies ranging from Sinar Mas, Pertamina, InJourney, to the Ministry of Youth and Sports in order to develop Indonesia's tourism sector. Read more on Antara (English)

💡 Our Take: This is a follow-up to last year's event, where the Powerboat championship became a promotional event for Indonesian tourism. Apart from being proven to produce benefits for the local tourism economy, this year's event is starting to touch on cooperation between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and H20 Racing as the F1 Powerboat promoter to open a Powerboat academy on Lake Toba.

Chinese Interest in Europe's Winter Sport Resorts Gathering Speed

During the winter, Harbin, Heilongjiang province, and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region witnessed a surge in the number of domestic visitors to the ski slopes. The burgeoning popularity of winter sports in China has meant Chinese skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts have been flocking to Europe's slopes in increasingly large numbers. Read more on China Daily (English)

Festival of Cool Hits Shanghai Streets

Sports and fashion collide as the city stages Olympic qualifying events for breaking, BMX, skateboarding, and climbing. Read more on China Daily (English) and Xinhua (Chinese)

China's Champion Gymnast Li Ning Considers Taking Company Private

The Chinese billionaire entrepreneur and Olympic champion is considering taking his namesake sportswear company private from the Hong Kong stock exchange. Read more on Reuters (English) and Tencent (Chinese)

Megastar Lu Han Visits Manchester UnitedThe popular Chinese entertainer Lu Han paid a visit to the club recently, five years since his last trip. Lu Han met the men’s first-team squad at Carrington during a training session and showed his football skills on the pitch afterward. Since the collaboration started in 2019, Lu Han has remained close to the Club and has been featured in various club campaigns and charity initiatives. Read more on Man Utd (English) and Sohu (Chinese)


🎮 Esports

PGL and Perfect World Announce Partnership

As part of this partnership, PGL will produce all Perfect World tournaments in these two games. The Bucharest-based company will also hold all rights to these events outside of China. In turn, Perfect World will produce and distribute PGL events in China. Read more on Esports.GG (English)


🤔 Opinion

Anta Sports Launches in US with Kyrie Irving Kai 1s

The Chinese sports conglomerate and American basketball player launched their first pair of sneakers on March 6. The eggplant purple “Kai 1” court shoes represent the first collaboration between the Dallas Mavericks player and the Chinese sports equipment giant. Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Can Manchester City’s Owners Succeed in Chinese Football with Shenzhen Peng City?

Co-owned by City Football Group and newly relocated from Chengdu, the club was routed in their first home Chinese Super League match, with a modest crowd. Read more on SCMP (English)


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