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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 11th December

Hello Industry Friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of the China Sports Business Weekly.

Making headlines this week: China Mobile’s Migu lands global sporting events as part of CCTV partnership, Chinese-born Jackson He makes history in American Football, FIFA Club World Cup moved from China, Olympic Skiing test events cancelled, university football match suspended over hair colour, CFA Secretary General talks reform and development, and China removes 105 apps.

In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Jackson He, Arizona State Sun Devils, about how it feels to be the first Chinese-born player to play in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), the journey from playing in China to the US, and his ultimate ambition in American Football.

Top Industry News

1. CCTV and China Mobile Partner, Migu Gets Showpiece Events The upcoming Tokyo Olympics, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, EURO 2020, and Beijing Winter Olympics will all be broadcast on China Mobile's digital broadcast platform, Migu, as part of the 2-year deal with CCTV. Alongside these showpiece tournaments, the deal also includes rights to TV shows, entertainment content, music shows and much more. Early reports estimate the deal at RMB 6B (around US$900M). Read more on SportsPro (English) and Jiemian (Chinese)

Mailman Take: Not long ago Migu was an after-thought for international sports organisations opting for the riches of Tencent Sports and PP Sports. This CCTV partnership no doubt strengthens their position in a competitive market, positioning them as the sports broadcaster of choice for the country’s key decision-makers. In China’s COVID-19-hit media rights battle, Migu is coming out on top.

2. Jackson He Becomes First Chinese-Born Player in the FBS

Arizona State University’s Jackson He (He Peizhang) has become the only Chinese-born player competing at that level of American football, playing in the FBS league. 22-year-old Jackson only started playing American Football at the age of 17 when he arrived in America from Guangdong. Read more on SCMP (English) and NFL (Chinese) Mailman Take: A milestone moment for the sport in China, met with huge excitement and nationalistic pride across the country. This is by no means a ‘Yao Ming moment’, but it puts China firmly on the college football map. Jackson’s rise can inspire generations, while American Football has a very marketable asset on their hands for years to come.

3. FIFA Club World Cup 2021 Moved From China to Japan FIFA has extended the current Club World Cup seven-team format for an extra year, meaning the new 24-team revamped schedule for China in June 2021 has been delayed. Japan will now host the traditional seven-team Club World Cup in December 2021. FIFA originally planned for the upcoming February edition in Qatar to be the last seven-team tournament. Read more on SCMP (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 4. Olympic Skiing Test Events During the 2020-21 Season Cancelled The International Ski Federation (FIS) and the Beijing 2022 organising committee stated all Olympic test events for skiing for the 2020/21 season have been cancelled due to COVID-19. The announcement includes the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships, scheduled for Zhangjiakou in February, from 18 - 28 next year. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Tencent (Chinese)

5. Hair Colour Suspends Play at Women’s University Football Match A match in China had to be called off after players were told they were not allowed to have dyed hair. The women's teams of Fuzhou and Jimei universities were set to play a college league game, and team members from both sides bought black hair dye to correct the problem. But one Fuzhou player's hair was deemed "not black enough" and the side had to forfeit for having only six players. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and NetEase (Chinese) 6. World Athletics Indoor Championships Dealt Second Postponement to 2023

Set to take place in Nanjing, the tournament has been postponed for a second time because of the COVID-19. The rescheduled competition was due to take place between March 19 - 21 next year.

7. BBIN Becomes iGaming Supplier for Atlético Madrid in Asia The deal will be activated in Asia only, meaning new rules banning gambling-related sponsorships in the Spanish market, which come into force at the end of this season, will not be infringed. Read more on Insider Sport (English) and Ecosports (Chinese)


China Authorities to Release Esports Professionals’ Regulation During the recent National Esports Professional Skills Regulation Final Evaluation conference, writers and editors reported to China’s authorities about how they set up the regulation, as well as existing issues. Three official esports professional occupations now exist in China, including esports professional, esports team manager, and esports tournament operator. Read more on the Esports Observer (English) and Yangtse (Chinese)


CFA Secretary General Talks Commercial Rights, Club Finances and Youth Development

The secretary general Louis Liu of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), together with CFA president Chen Xuyuan, are making big changes within Chinese football to push the country towards its ambitious targets. Louis Liu spoke to Kevin McCullagh at SportBusiness about these reforms. Read the interview on SportBusiness (English)


Monster Hunter Removed from China Cinemas Over Racist Scene The Hollywood fantasy action movie was pulled following backlash on social media about a joke that some viewers said was racist. The controversial scene has been circulated online, and features Chinese-American actor Jin Au-Yeung as a soldier talking to a comrade as they drive across a desert. Jin points to his legs and says, "What kind of knees are these? Chinese." Top comments on Weibo accused the movie of "humiliating China" and "naked racism." Read more on CNN (English) and New York Times China (Chinese)

Chinese Authorities Remove 105 Apps The move comes as part of a campaign to remove content related to pornography, prostitution, gambling and violence. Most of the banned apps are Chinese but US travel app TripAdvisor is also included on the list. The majority of apps in the latest crackdown from Beijing are domestic ones, with authorities saying the ban was in response to content the public "deemed offensive". Read more on BBC (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

Mailman in Asia

What we've been up to across Asia this week

North London Derby In India, to celebrate the match against Arsenal, as well as Harry Kane becoming the North London derby’s all-time top scorer, we produced a crossover with Game of Thrones portraying Harry Kane as the ‘King in the North’.

Players Try Out Local Languages In Indonesia, ahead of the Champions League match between PSG vs Man Utd, we compiled an entertaining video with players speaking in local slang language.

From The Top

Jackson He, Arizona State Sun Devils

1. How does it feel to be the first Chinese-born player to play for a renowned FBS school?

When I received my jersey and got the news that I will be suiting up for the game, I was so excited that I had tears of joy in my eyes. But it’s the outpouring of messages of encouragement which I received that made me realize I am playing at such a high level. I have achieved something that no-one has ever done before, and even though I am thousands of miles away from all my friends in China, I can still strongly feel their passion for me, and I am more motivated than ever.

2. You only started playing at 17. What made you decide at such a late age to play American Football?

I never had a chance to take a sport seriously in China because of the heavy workload at school. I had also never heard of American football - not even the greats like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While a lot of my teammates started to play football at a very young age, I was introduced to the sport late. However, I am not only a quick learner but the type that will give all the effort to learn when I am determined to do something, so that I can be great at it.

3. You used to play and train in China. How did that help in your journey to the US?

This experience definitely made me more mature and increased my intelligence for the game, which made me realize what I really wanted. I was also able to train on the only standard American football field in China while I was interning at Skyway, the biggest

Chinese youth football academy. The training courses for coaches at Skyway also helped me understand the game greatly. While I was teaching the kids, I started to reflect and improve on all the little details in my game. I was excelling as a football player with the kids together.

4. What's your ultimate ambition in your career in American Football?

All football players have a dream of playing in the NFL, and as a football player myself, I also want to be in the league. But this dream requires a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. I have yet to make some good plays for the Sun Devils but this is only the beginning! While all the encouraging messages I received this week are heartwarming, it reminds me at the same time that I am not there yet. I need to train even harder, always stay ready, and shine whenever I get that opportunity. --

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