• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 11th June


Here’s the biggest news from China over the past seven days.


📰 Headlines: China labelled world-class for winter sports, CSM lands three platforms for Copa América, Hisense enters the octagon with UFC, India drops Li-Ning for Tokyo, Juventus partners with Skyworth, and Hyperice helps the LPL recover.


🎤 From the Top: We spoke with Angela Sun, Head of LFP China about the league’s growth in the country, the importance of PSG, differentiating from the other big European leagues, and working with PP Sports.

🗞️ Top Industry News

China Labelled World Class Winter Sports Destination

Beijing 2022 has been lauded by the International Olympic Committee organisers, saying next year’s Olympics will enhance China’s reputation as a world-class tourism destination for winter sports. Read more on SCMP (English) and CCTV.com (Chinese)


CSM Scores Platform Hat Trick for Copa América PP Sports, Kuaishou, and Huya claim the non-exclusive rights for this year’s Copa América, with all deals brokered by the agency China Sports Media (CSM). CSM will also provide tournament coverage on K-Ball, its own streaming platform. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has linear rights. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Tencent (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: Losing CSL distribution rights in China to Mediapro was a big blow for CSM, but they’ve bounced back well with a strong offering for Copa América. The battle for eyeballs between EURO 2020 and Copa América will be interesting, EURO2020 has been stronger in the build-up phase. Hisense Enters the UFC Octagon

Centred around the UFC’s Fight Pass streaming service, the deal ensures distribution of the UFC’s OTT platform on Hisense and Toshiba smart TVs. Hisense also lands the role of official marketing partner of the UFC, with branding featured in the octagon at select UFC events for the remainder of the year. Read more on SportsPro (English) and Sports Money (Chinese) India Drops Li-Ning as Official Olympics Kit Sponsor A whirlwind period for this partnership, as this decision comes just days after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was criticised for unveiling Indian jerseys with China’s Li-Ning branding last week. The Indian Olympics team will now go unbranded in Tokyo. Read more on Times of India (English) and Huanqiu.com (Chinese) Juventus Gets Smart with Skyworth

The deal begins immediately and runs until at least the end of next season. Skyworth will have branding at Juventus’s stadium, conduct activations at the stadium, publish co-branded content on social media platforms globally, and create special deals and offers for customers linked to the sponsorship. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Jiemian (Chinese)


Ant Group’s Blockchain Partners with EURO 2020

AntChain, the blockchain business of Ant Group, has announced a new five-year global partnership around blockchain technology with UEFA. AntChain will become the official global blockchain partner of UEFA EURO 2020 and UEFA national team football. Read more on UEFA (English) and lfeng.com (Chinese)


🎮 Esports Hyperice Helps LPL Recover The League of Legends Pro League (LPL) has named performance technology company Hyperice as its official recovery technology partner for 2021. As a part of the deal, Hyperice will provide all 17 LPL teams with access to its recovery technologies in its facilities. Read more on the Esports Insider (English) and Titan.com (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: Esports continues to be an increasingly attractive space for global brands to reach younger audiences in China. Hyperice recently partnered with UFC superstar Zhang Weili, and now with the LPL - a strong strategy mixing with the elite in their respective industries.

🗞️ Other News Price of Goods Leaving China's Factories Skyrockets There’s growing pressure on policymakers as they grapple with the effects of a global commodity price rally. China’s producer price index increased by 9 per cent in May, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday, its biggest year-on-year increase since September 2008 and higher than economists’ forecasts. Read more on CNN (English) and Sina (Chinese)


🎤 From The Top


🗣️ Angela Sun, Head of LFP China


1. How does the LFP work together with Ligue 1 and its clubs in China to grow French football?


LFP owns the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 commercial development. Since LFP and FFF launched the China office in 2017, we have achieved progress in many ways, such as media presence and digital promotion. The league and its clubs have been working closely in China. So far there are three clubs that have opened their China offices - PSG, Monaco and Lyon.


2. LFP has partnered with digital broadcaster PP Sports for a number of years, how has PP Sports helped promote the league and French football? Will this partnership continue despite PP Sports’ recent decline?


In the past three years, we have worked with PP Sports very well. Whether it’s digital promotion, online events, off-live events and our France Chinese Media Tour, PP Sports provide huge support to us. Regarding future cooperation, it will depend on certain market conditions which will be beneficial to the two parties.


3. PSG has a big following in China, how much has their success and strong digital offering helped benefit the league?


Obviously, PSG is our strongest club. When fans mention Ligue 1, PSG is their first reaction. We know PSG has a huge fan following in China, which benefits the league for sure. I think that with the link between PSG and the league, we are really like one family member in China. Especially since we are out of France.


4. How do LFP and Ligue 1 differentiate themselves from the more globally renowned leagues like the EPL, LaLiga, and Bundesliga?


This is a long and complicated topic. We have been here only for 4 years, so there is still a long way to go. We need the correct China strategy investment, exciting club performance, healthy market, and big support from Chinese fans. It’s impossible to evaluate Ligue 1’s impact in China over the course of 4 years while the other top-four leagues have been broadcast in China for over 25 years.


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Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Mailman is a global sports digital consultancy and agency. We help the world’s leading sports organisations serve their audiences and build their businesses. With over 200 experts across China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US, we specialise in digital strategy, transformation, social media, content production and eCommerce. Learn more about our story here.

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