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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 12th January

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

📰 Headlines: Weili vs Xiaonan at UFC 300, CMG releases sport broadcast schedule, Village Super League kicks off 2024 season, Amer Sports files for IPO, DP World forms strategic partnership with China Tour, the 2024 China Core Trend forecast, inside Xiaohongshu’s meteoric rise, Chengdu to host LoL Mid-Season invitational, and a new inclusion for the weekly newsletter - the most important sports business news from across Asia.


🗞️ Top Industry News

Zhang Weili to Defend Strawweight Title Against Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300

It's the fight all of China has been waiting for. At the highly anticipated UFC 300 event this April, UFC strawweight champ Zhang Weili, regarded as one of the greatest fighters of her generation, will finally face her compatriot Yan Xiaonan, the #1 contender, as part of a historic star-studded lineup in Las Vegas. Read more on ESPN (English) and China News (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: We expect to see all previous UFC viewership and social engagement records in China broken by this one - the first time two Chinese fighters have gone up against each other with a belt on the line. 


China Media Group Releases Broadcast Schedule for Major 2024 Sports Events

The powerful state-owned media company unveiled a list of mega-sporting events it will broadcast in China this year, including 32 "golden" competitions and 9 special ones. During the announcement event, the Chinese sports-themed art exhibition "From Beijing to Paris - Olympic Tour of Chinese and French Artists" was also launched. Read more on CGTN (English) and Tencent (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: Aside from global sporting events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, CMG - the owner of CCTV - has been sports-content-shy in recent years, but that’s all set to change. The unexpectedly large roster of sports broadcasts set to be produced by the company is positive news for China’s beleaguered sports media market, and especially for the country’s sports fans.


Lululemon Founder Bets Billions on Amer Sports IPO

The Lululemon Athletica founder is betting that 2024 will see investors clamoring to own a piece of Wilson footballs and Salomon skis. The 20% owner of Amer Sports, a conglomerate that includes some of the sporting goods industry’s most-recognizable brands, including its three largest, Wilson, Salomon and outdoor clothing brand Arc’teryx. Read more on Sportico  (English) and Tencent (Chinese)


New Season of Village Super League Enlightens People's Football Passion

The new season of Village Super League - also known as Cun Chao - kicked off in Guizhou Province. Players from Kouzhai Village Team and Miaoben Village Football Team played the first football game on the pitch, signaling the commencement of the Village Super League's new season qualifiers in 2024. Read more on Xinhua (English) and Ta Kung Pao (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: Cun Chao shot to fame last year, following in the footsteps of Village Basketball (CunBA), with the community football league even collaborating with the English Premier League. We expect big things in 2024 for Cun Chao, as it’s likely that will more social platforms get involved, the government will provide more support, and brands look to seize the opportunity. 


DP World Tour Forms Strategic Partnership with China Tour

The DP World Tour and the China Golf Association have announced a strategic partnership which expands the pathway for China Tour players onto the DP World Tour and confirms the co-sanctioning of tournaments until at least 2025. Read more on Golf Business News (English) and Sina (Chinese)


Barça Legends to Play in Chongqing in January

Barça Legends will return to action in China with a game in the city of Chongqing on 20 January at 7 pm local time at the Chongqing Longxing Football Stadium. Read more on FC Barcelona (English) and Sohu (Chinese)


Sports Industry is 'MVP' in China

The Chinese sports industry showed significant growth in 2022, with a total scale reaching $461.3bn, up 5.9 percent year-on-year, according to the report jointly released by the General Administration of Sport of China and the National Bureau of Statistics. Revenue generated from the sports-related businesses had a 6.9 percent year-on-year increase, according to the report. Read more on China Daily (English)


CES 2024: China TV Makers Hisense and TCL Promote AI, Live Sports at US Show

The two biggest Chinese TV brands offered competing narratives about their global stature and AI processing capabilities. The companies emphasised their ability to produce much of their technology in-house and how they are branching out into areas like AR. Read more on SCMP (English) and Xinhua (Chinese)


TikTok Aims to Grow Ecommerce Business Tenfold in 2024

According to a new report from Bloomberg, TikTok is eyeing a tenfold increase in merchandise sales in the US this year, amounting to a total of $17.5m. The short-video platform will be facing stiff competition against Amazon, as well as from Chinese upstarts Temu and SHEIN, which both expanded aggressively in 2023. Read more on DAO (English)


🤔 Opinion

The 2024 China Core Trend Forecast

From 'old money style' to 'Y2K,' here are five trends shaping China’s fashion landscape in 2024. Read more on Jing Daily (English)


Inside Xiaohongshu’s Meteoric Rise

Xiaohongshu, a multifaceted platform merging social networking and ecommerce, has become an essential app for Chinese women, driving consumer culture and authenticity. Read more on Jing Daily (English)


🎟️ Events

GBA Sport Business Summit

Global leaders from across sports, business, venture capital, lifestyle brands and governments will meet in GBA (Greater Bay Area) this February to discuss new trends and share their insights for the future. This sports industry event is co-hosted by Realeague, Lanxiong Sports and Macau Pass, and powered by Leaders. Read more on Leaders (English)


🎮 Esports

Chengdu to Host LoL Mid-Season Invitational in 2024

The League of Legends (LoL) Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) will take place in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, from May 1 to 19, Riot Games, the developer and publisher of the video game, announced. Read more on CGTN (English) and NetEase (Chinese)


🎤 Rest of Asia News

Padres Sign Woo-Suk Go

San Diego Padres signed Korean reliever Woo-Suk Go to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2026, announced on Wednesday (Jan 3rd). The deal is expected to be worth $4.5 million. Read more on USA Today (English)

💡 Mailman Take: We hope he adjusts well and we look forward to seeing Go make a presence in MLB.  With more Korean players going to the MLB and with the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers scheduled to open the 2024 MLB regular season on March 20-21 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, there is much anticipation behind MLB in Korea at the moment.

Garudayaksa Partnership with Aspire Academy Qatar

Garudayaksa Football Academy, owned by the Minister of Defense & 2024 presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, signed a five-year cooperation agreement with Aspire Academy from Qatar. A step that received full support from PSSI (Indonesian FA). Read more on Independent Observer (English)

💡 Mailman Take: Despite the political vibe surrounding the upcoming election, this partnership is vital for the lasting success of Indonesian football. The local football market, historically substantial yet underperforming, can see significant improvement in the long term through this collaboration, ultimately maximizing the market potential.

UFC Extends Partnership with Sony Pictures Networks India until 2028The multi-year extension of the broadcast rights agreement with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) sees the platform retain its status as the exclusive home for UFC in India, underlining the promotion's commitment to expanding its fanbase in the country. Read more on SportsPro Media (English)

💡 Mailman Take: Great news for UFC for growing the MMA fanbase in the massive market of India. It will be interesting to see what Sony's strategy to increase viewership will be since fans can expect to see more Indian fighters' presence in the next few years. 


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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, an Endeavor Company. Learn more about our story here.

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