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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 26th April

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

📰 Key Headlines: Road To UFC returns to Shanghai, Thailand pitches F1 street race, Tottenham Hotspur announces Japan tour, F1 chief hails China’s importance, LA Dodgers adds Daiso as sponsor, KAWO launches Ultimate China Social Media Metrics Map.


🗞️ Key Industry News

Road To UFC Season 3 to Kick Off in Shanghai

UFC has announced the third season of ROAD TO UFC, the most significant opportunity for Asia's top MMA prospects to make it to the world stage. Following the successful format of Season 2, the opening round will take place across two days, May 18 and 19, in Shanghai at the UFC Performance Institute. Read more on MyKhel (English)

💡Our Take: The Road To UFC Season 2 opening round took place in Shanghai at the UFC Shanghai Performance Institute last summer and was a resounding success. The current quality of Asian MMA athletes and Chinese talent training at the UFC Academy at the Shanghai PI will make this tournament one of the most exciting to witness. Because of the growth of the sport from both digital and participation perspectives in China, we’re expecting a packed-out event next month, welcoming the future Asian talent battling it out for that prized UFC contract.


Thailand Pitches F1 Street Race to Help Bolster Tourism 

Formula 1 has been presented with a new option for a grand prix in the Southeast Asian market after Thailand’s Prime Minister Strettha Thavisin pitched a proposal for a street race in 2027 in Bangkok. Strettha, who has only served as prime minister since August, met with F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali to discuss the potential of a first-ever grand prix in Thailand. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

💡Our Take: The country’s new Prime Minister has kick-started a push from Thailand to organise sporting activities and build out event capabilities in a bid to help bolster tourism. There are ongoing talks of multiple sports and entertainment events set to take place in Thailand, including Tomorrowland, MotoGP, and now the possibility of Formula 1 on the streets of Bangkok. If Thailand lands the rights to host an F1 race in 2027, it could generate about four billion baht (USD$108m) in economic value and generate more than 1,000 jobs, according toJakkaphon Tangsutthitham, deputy secretary-general to the premier.

Tottenham Hotspur to Visit Japan This Summer as Part of Pre-season Tour

The English Premier League Club will play reigning J1 League champions Vissel Kobe at the Japan National Stadium on Saturday 27 July. The visit will be the club’s first to Japan in 33 years, during which it will engage with its fanbase, support good causes, deliver grassroots football programmes and celebrate local culture. Read more on BBC (English)

💡Our Take: Following Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund, Spurs becomes the third European team confirmed to visit Japan this summer after 33 years. Three official fan clubs are looking forward to receiving them as the coach also returns to Japan five years after coaching in the country. This move restates the interest of European teams in Japan as they continue to build fan bases locally.

Red Sparks vs Indonesia All-Star Exhibition Match Successfully Held

The popular South Korean volleyball club, Daejeon JungKwanJang Red Sparks, successfully defeated the Indonesia All-Star in an exhibition match entitled 'Fun Volleyball' at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta. This was the culmination of Red Sparks activities in Indonesia which was initiated by the Ministry of Sports & Indonesian Volleyball Association ahead of the 2024 Proliga (Indonesia Volleyball League) new season. Read more on SEA Today (English)

💡 Our Take: The success is further proof that volleyball in Indonesia is increasing in demand. The sports ministry is ready to take further steps, not only with other exhibition matches in the future but also plans to build a volleyball academy that will be supported by Red Sparks. With South Korea being so open to all volleyball business with Indonesia, the sport looks poised to challenge basketball, badminton, and MotoGP as the best-selling and most popular sports spectacles in Indonesia, after football.

Zhou Wants to Inspire a New Generation of Homegrown Heroes

Competing in the 2024 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, which marked his inaugural home appearance as China's first F1 race driver, Zhou Guanyu could not hide his joy and pride. Zhou voiced his desire for younger enthusiasts to pay increased attention to motorsport, and to see greater participation in the field, believing the Shanghai race to be the catalyst for China's motorsport industry. Read more on China Daily (English)

Domenicali Hails China's Importance to F1

Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has highlighted the importance of returning to China, and the great potential for developing the sport in the country, as the motorsport series returned to Shanghai for the first time since 2019. Read more on China Daily (English)

LA Dodgers Adds Daiso as Latest Japanese Sponsor

The MLB team announced retailer Daiso as its latest Japanese sponsor, while star player Shohei Ohtani has agreed to an endorsement deal with sports technology company Rapsodo. Daiso’s multi-year agreement with the Dodgers will grant the company prime placement in the media backdrop for player interviews and signage behind home plate at Dodger Stadium. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

Man City City and Dwight School Hanoi Launch First Football School in Vietnam

The partnership will offer bespoke football education for students based at their brand-new state-of-the-art campus. Dwight School Hanoi is the newest addition to the global network of Dwight Schools and is poised to shape young minds in a cutting-edge 41,000 m² campus at The Manor Central Park, Hanoi. Read more on One Football (English)

KAWO’s Ultimate China Social Media Metrics Map

The map includes seven major China social media platforms; 278 official social media metrics; and 32 exclusive KAWO metrics. Download here.


🤔 Opinion

From Las Vegas to Shanghai, F1 is a Global Canvas for Brand Collabs

Formula 1 has grown to become a cultural powerhouse of tastemakers and luxury collaborations. With the 2024 calendar boasting 24 Grand Prix events spanning five continents, the stage is set for a symphony of partnerships that transcend borders and redefine the boundaries of luxury branding. Read more on Jing Daily (English)


🎮 Esports

A Closer Look at IEM Chengdu 2024, China’s First CS2 Event 

Held in Chengdu Financial City Art Centre and in conjunction with Chinese tournament organizer VSPO, over 8k attendees witnessed esports organization FaZe Clan hoist its first IEM trophy this year, taking home $100k in prize money and qualifying for IEM Cologne 2024, often referred to as the “Cathedral of Counter-Strike.” Read more on The Esports Advocate (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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