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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

Asia Sports Business Weekly | 29th March

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

📰 Key Headlines: AliExpress becomes UEFA EURO 2024 partner, LA Rams adds South Korea and Japan as home marketing areas, Beijing to host WTT China Smash, UFC heads back to Australia, NRLW announces expansion to 12 teams.


🗞️ Key Industry News

AliExpress Signs as UEFA EURO 2024 Partner

UEFA has announced the international online retail marketplace as an official partner of UEFA EURO 2024. AliExpress will connect online consumers with football this summer by offering fans a combination of discounts and deals on AliExpress Choice, as well as interactive games and competitions. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Dongqiudi (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: AliExpress takes the number of UEFA’s China partners up to five, proving how much of an important tournament EURO 2024 will be for Chinese companies this summer. Chinese brands have been looking outbound in recent years due to a slowdown in business across the mainland. These brands see sporting tentpole tournaments like EURO 2024 as an ideal vehicle to reach mass audiences across the continent and grow their brand internationally. 


LA Rams Adds South Korea and Japan as International Home Marketing Areas

The LA Rams began with Mexico, Australia, and China before adding New Zealand in 2022. This week, they added two more countries as international home marketing areas: Japan and South Korea. As they are in China, the LA Rams are the only team with a marketing program in Japan and South Korea. Read more on Yahoo! (English)

💡 Our Take: Following its successful HMA into China, the LA Rams, having established their initial presence in Asia, will have the opportunity to continue to dominate North Asia territories. Being first movers will allow the LA Rams to tap into the connections across music and entertainment with LA. Additionally, its sponsorship activation with Bandai and Hyundai over the last couple of years will further validate its interest in growing its brand and fan bases in its respective countries.

Beijing to Host WTT China Smash in Autumn

China’s capital city won the bid to host World Table Tennis (WTT) China Smash from 2024 to 2028, with this year's 11-day event to kick off on September 26. The WTT China Smash will be held in the ice hockey, short track and figure skating venues in the Shougang Park of Beijing's Shijingshan District, where the Beijing Winter Olympic venue Big Air Shougang is located. Read more on China Daily (English) and Guangming Net (Chinese)

💡 Our Take: Another feather in the cap for Beijing, landing a high-level sporting event to follow on from the recent World Athletics and World Aquatics announcements. It’s clear China’s sporting chiefs are intent on not being left behind on the ultra-competitive global sporting events stage, and with table tennis’ roots ingrained in China, this Beijing Smash will undoubtedly be packed with top China talent.

Jordan Brand Opens First World of Flight Store in China

The retail space, which comes after successful store openings in Seoul, Tokyo, and Milan, will focus on basketball culture. Spanning over 1,000 square meters and across four stories, the new flagship pays homage to both the local Chinese heritage and Jordan Brand legacy. Read more on HypeBeast (English) and Beijing Daily (Chinese)

Blockbuster UFC 305 Event Heading to Perth

UFC, together with the Western Australian Government, today announced a multiyear partnership in which UFC will return to Perth with two blockbuster events starting with UFC 305 at RAC Arena on Sunday, August 18. Read more on ESPN (English)

NRLW Announces Expansion to 12 Teams from 2025

The Australian Rugby League Commission approved teams for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and New Zealand Warriors to join the competition next season. The addition of two teams means the 2025 NRLW regular season will expand to 11 weeks. Read more on The Guardian (English)

💡 Our Take: This expansion is a positive step for the NRLW. It will likely lead to greater investment at the grassroots level, which could have a knock-on effect by increasing female participation in the sport. The addition of teams and a longer season opens the door to attracting a much larger audience, both at games and through broadcasts. Ultimately, the goal is for all NRL clubs to have full participation in both the men's and women's competitions, and this expansion brings us closer to that reality.

Dodgers' Opening Day Starter Hoping to See S. Korean Style Cheering in Los Angeles

In a typical Korea Baseball Organization game, there are cheering teams on either side of the diamond, with the home team usually taking the stage on the first base side and the away team setting up shop on the third base side. Cheermasters play walkup songs for every player through large speakers, and fans chant players' names and clap along. Read more on Korea Times (English)

💡 Our Take: Most of the time, the South Korean sports culture mimics the foreign sports cultures to create their own. However, with the KBO being one of the most popular sports in South Korea for its fun and energetic atmosphere, it was good to see that although the recent MLB season opener was hosted in South Korea, it was not only an advantageous and learning session for South Korea, but also for the MLB as well. We hope to see more countries try to learn from each other to improve their own sports cultures such as in this case.

Juventus Releases Indonesian Version of 'Team Jay' Cartoon Series

The Italian club released an Indonesian YouTube Channel for their cartoon series - Team Jay - to reach the young fans/Gen Alpha audience. After its initial release in four languages (Italian, English, Portuguese, and Spanish), it will be translated into Bahasa. Read more on One Football (English)

💡 Our Take: This is a breakthrough step for any club (local & international), as they became the first in Indonesia to release a cartoon series on the club's official platform. A concrete way to reach young fans - future fans, especially in Indonesia, one of Juventus' biggest markets. It still needs to be monitored whether this step is suitable for the market and will produce results according to expectations. 

China TV Makers Target European Football and NFL to Expand Overseas

Hisense and TCL have been expanding overseas from early on, but the slump in the domestic market has prompted them to boost their efforts. Read more on Nikkei (English) 

Former NBA Executive Greg Stolt Joins Realeague

Realeague, the creator of the recent high-profile global sports business summit in Macao and the proposed new East Asia club basketball competition, has announced the addition of Greg Stolt to its leadership team as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and ifeng (Chinese)

Over 2.5 Million Chinese Run Marathons and Half-marathons in 2023

At least 2.5m people in China had completed a full marathon or half marathon event by the end of 2023, according to the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA). Read more on (English) and The Beijing News (Chinese)

Anta Reports Record Revenues in 2023

Anta Sports recently reported record sales for fiscal 2023, with all of the company’s business segments reporting increases. According to the Chinese sports company, overall revenue increased 16.2 percent to a record $8.63bn based on the current exchange. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and The Paper (Chinese)


🎮 Esports

ESI Events Returns to Asia with ESI Singapore 2024

Esports Insider’s events arm ESI Events has announced the return of the B2B esports and gaming industry event ESI Singapore for its third edition. The event, which is being produced in collaboration with Redd+E, will take place at the Asian Civilisations Museum on July 9th-10th, 2024. Read more on Esports Insider (English)


🤔 Opinion

China Sports Boom Drives Lululemon, Nike Revenue Growth

Sportswear brands Lululemon and Nike have had a promising start to 2024. Both athleisure firms have been well-received in China over the last few months. Read more on Jing Daily (English)

Why Otome is The New Go-to for Gaming Collaborations in China

China will be home to an estimated 772m gamers in 2024, who spend an average of RMB 445 a year on video games. Around half of them are women, a fact brands looking to tap into this multi-billion-dollar industry cannot afford to ignore. It’s not just the high proportion of women that counts. Female gamers also spend more on video games than their male counterparts. Read more on DAO (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 a 160over90 company, part of Endeavor. Learn more about our story here.

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