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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 1st March

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

📰 Key Headlines: Beijing to host 2027 World Aquatics Championships, Disney and Reliance merge, Joe Tsai spearheading NBA’s China return, global brands eye post-covid recovery, WeChat dominates China's social media, and Seoul to host VALORANT Champions 2024. 


🗞️ Key Industry News

Beijing to Host 2027 World Athletics Championships

China’s capital city has been selected to host the 2027 World Athletics Championships. The announcement comes after the Italian athletics federation announced it had withdrawn its bid to host the event in Rome after failing to receive financial support from the government. Beijing also hosted the Championships in 2015. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and China News (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: Some major nations are not willing to currently host large-scale events due to the risk of losing money as financial markets tighten. China is the opposite. Years of little-to-no live sporting and entertainment events have meant the country is eager to bring these back in abundance. The World Athletics Championships follows the recently announced World Aquatics Championships set for Beijing in 2029. China is officially back at the live events table. 


Disney and Reliance Confirm Merger

The merger will give back highly valuable cricket streaming rights to Disney in a country absolutely obsessed about the sport. Disney announced that the companies will be merging their respective Star India and Viacom18 units into a newly created Star India joint venture, valued at roughly $8.5bn on a post-money basis, excluding synergies. Read more on CNBC (English)

Joe Tsai is Spearheading the NBA's Return to China

The Nets owner is a co-founder and chairman of the Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba Group, meaning he has strong ties to the country. Combine that with his ownership of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, Tsai can bring both of his teams to play in China if he wants to. Read more on SI (English)

💡 Our Take: The NBA won’t be too concerned about having not played a pre-season game in China since 2019. That said, they’ll be eager to resume staging games as soon as possible to ensure it remains a growing and financially key market for the league. The Nets’ connections to China make them the most likely to take part in what we expect will be the 2025 NBA pre-season China Games.

Athletes Welcome Plans to Bring More Major International Sporting Events to Singapore

The move will expose national athletes to world-class competitions, allow them to learn from international competitors, and build Singapore's brand as a sports tourism destination. Read more on CNA (English)

💡 Our Take: Singapore has significantly grown its reputation as a world-class destination for live sports and entertainment events in the last decade. From F1 to World Aquatics, Taylor Swift to Coldplay, Olympic Esports Week to HSBC golf championships - the biggest brands and names see the Lion City as a ‘must’ on their global circuits. The world’s best airport, rising GDP, a world-class modern transport infrastructure, and a growing focus on sports are just a few reasons why we expect even more live action in the region for the next decade and beyond. 

First GBA Sports Industry Summit Launches in Macau

Macau held the inaugural GBA International Sports Business Summit, aiming to unify the 11-city Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a leading platform for sports business collaboration. The two-day event, themed “Connecting the World Through Sports”, brought together hundreds of sports industry leaders from China and around the world. Read more on China Daily HK (English) and Lanxiong Sports (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: The Greater Bay Area (GBA) is looking to position itself as the go-to destination in Greater China for international sports events to take place and teams to play games. The region looks like a preferred location both from a political standpoint as well as logistically. Factor in Hong Kong’s new stadium and the ease of access across the GBA area, we expect more action in that part fo the country throughout 2024 and beyond. 

Global Brands Eye Post-Covid Recovery in China’s Sports Market

Major international sports brands are setting their sights on the Greater Bay Area as a gateway to the Chinese market, where demand from fans and consumers is heating up after a Covid-related lull, according to executives in the industry. Read more on SCMP (English)

PSSI Continues Partnership with JFA, Appoints Satoru Mochizuki

The Indonesian FA (PSSI) has appointed the Japanese coach to lead the Indonesian Women's National Team. Satoru will be assigned to bring the Indonesian Women's National Team to score achievements in the future, with an ambitious 10-year blueprint. Read more on Void (English)


💡 Our Take: PSSI, under the era of Eric Thohir (the chairman), has consistently made breakthroughs. After VAR, Erigo's collaboration, and Qatar Academy partnerships, they are now getting more serious about developing cooperation with JFA. With focusing on women's football, the market value of Indonesian football will become wider, in line with the increasing interest in women's football. In general, the future of Indonesian Football seems to be bright.

Olympics Boss Tells Queensland to Ditch $2.7bn Plan for Gabba Demolition and Rebuild

A delegation including International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates, told the Queensland government’s review of games infrastructure that the rebuild had become a “distraction” and risked turning people against the Games. Read more on The Guardian (English)

💡 Our Take: Very few modern Olympic games have taken place without a bespoke stadium created for the event. Brisbane 2032 will instead host the games through mostly existing infrastructure, with some venues receiving minor upgrades. The redevelopment of the famous cricket ground The Gabba, would have cost an estimated $2.7bn and earned the title of the world's third-most expensive stadium project. This is a smart move that will please Queenslanders who had voiced their concern about escalating costs during a cost of living crisis.

Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Collaborations with Gresini RacingThe Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia and Gresini Racing announced a new partnership with a MotoGP racing team, Gresini Racing, as their new ambassador for "Wonderful Indonesia", an Indonesian tourism brand developed by the ministry.  Read more on Gresini Racing (English)

💡 Our Take: A brilliant step by the ministry, as MotoGP is one of the most popular sports competitions in Indonesia. This is a follow-up to the success of the MotoGP event at the Mandalika circuit in the last two years. The government's involvement in world-popular sports teams to promote Indonesia is a breakthrough that will build the country's overall economic value.

Snowboarding Glides into Gen Z Mind Space This Winter

The sport has gained traction among Gen Z consumers in China, fueling business growth for Beijing-based Nobaday. The company, which since incubation in 2015 had focused on snowboarding products such as boards, boots, bindings and protective gear, has since evolved into a year-round outdoor sportswear and equipment maker. Read more on China Daily (English)

WeChat Dominates China's Social Media: All B2B Brands Invest

Leading social media management platform KAWO released its 2024 B2B Social Media Marketing Research Report. The report covers crucial insights into the role of social media within the business-to-business (B2B) marketing landscape in China, as well as its use by global B2B multinational corporations (MNCs). Read more on Campaign Asia (English)

National Games Spur Robust Growth of Ice-snow Sports

As the nation's first comprehensive winter sports event after the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the games feature more than 3,700 athletes in 176 events across eight sports - the largest edition in the history of the National Winter Games. Two years after the Beijing Winter Olympics, the ripple effects of its legacy have continued to grow, fueled by the National Winter Games. Read more on China Daily (English) and CCTV (Chinese)

Minister of Youth and Sports Brings South Korean Red SparksThe South Korean volleyball club, Daejeon CheongKwanJang Red Sparks, is set to face the Indonesian national team in the opening match of the 2024 National Volleyball League, in April. This is part of the collaboration between the ministry and the Sports Development and Business Management Agency (LPDUK), to develop Volleyball in Indonesia even further with South Korea as their point of reference. Read more on Antara (Bahasa)

💡 Our Take: Volleyball is one of the biggest sports in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. The popularity has grown rapidly in the past 2 years, through regular league broadcasts on free-to-air TV, plus the success of the local player, Megawati Hangestri, in breaking into the South Korean volleyball league with Red Sparks. The collaboration with LPDUK, not only will increase the value of the sport in the local market, but it will also be a business opportunity for clubs from South Korea to gain exposure and set Indonesia as their new market.

Man Utd Send Condolences to Zong QinghouThe Premier League club have sent messages of condolences following the death of Wahaha Group Chairman Zong Qinghou, paying tribute to Chairman Zong’s support in promoting the partnership between Manchester United and Wahaha Group. The Club entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Wahaha in 2013. Read more on YCWB (Chinese)


🎮 Esports

Seoul to host VALORANT Champions 2024

The upcoming VALORANT Champions in Seoul will represent the inaugural hosting of the Champions event in Asia and the third International Event following last year’s Masters Tokyo and Masters Shanghai this May. Read more on Yahoo! (English)

Tencent’s Gaming Cash Cow Honor of Kings Sets Sights on MENA

Tencent’s massively popular mobile game has its eye set on the international market in 2024. Starting on February 21, the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game will be available in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as Eastern Europe and South Asia. Read more on Tech Crunch (English)


🤔 Opinion

Box office knockout: Will boxing become China’s next hot sport?

Chinese director Jia Ling’s latest film is sparking nationwide interest in boxing. Should luxury brands get in on the action? Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Moncler Group Rides China’s Winter Sports Wave to Surpass $3bn

The Italian luxury group registered strong sales growth in China last year, bolstered by high-profile collaborations and a ski resort takeover. Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Zhilei Zhang Is China’s Big Hope for Boxing Greatness

A decade after leaving for the U.S. to embark on a professional career, the hard hitter is making waves in the heavyweight division—while drumming up interest in the sport back home. Read more on SI (English) 

Is Youngor the Next Anta?

Pundits have started to question whether the quickly expanding Norwegian outdoor brand Helly Hansen is the next Arc’teryx in China. Naturally, the group behind Helly Hansen’s China expansion, Youngor, is now being compared to Anta, the largest shareholder of Arc’teryx’s parent company Amer Sports. Read more on DAO (English)


🎟️ Events

Sports Matters North Asia

Presented by The Hong Kong Jockey Club and in conjunction with the HK Rugby 7s, the event will be held on 5th April at the iconic Happy Valley Racetrack in Hong Kong. Sports Matters celebrated its 10th birthday last year, so the HK edition is big news for the sports industry and has already received a huge amount of interest and support. Read more on Sports Matters (English)


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