• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 16th April


Hello Industry Friends,

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


Making headlines this week: Tencent acquires domestic rights for the CSL, MediaPro Asia to land CSL global rights distribution tender, China’s women’s national football team qualifies for Tokyo Olympics, Beijing 2022 test events celebrate the 300-day countdown, Overwatch League to resume live events in China, and Alibaba accepts record US$2.8B fine.


Top Industry News


1. Tencent Agrees to Three-Year Media Rights Deal with the CSL The non-exclusive deal will see the Chinese Super League (CSL) broadcast across all Tencent’s digital platforms, including Tencent Sports and Tencent Video. SportsMoney has reported the deal to be worth around US$36.7M for the three years, a notable decrease from the previous deal with PP Sports which was reported at US$146M per season. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and SportsMoney (Chinese)

Mailman Take: No longer simply the home of U.S. sports in China, Tencent has started investing in football properties and taking advantage of the mess left by PP Sports. It also signifies a positive step for the CSL following months of negative news and financial problems. The CSL’s previous two digital media rights partnerships in China with LeSports and PP Sports ended on bad terms, we expect this one to fare better.


2. MediaPro Asia to Land International CSL Media Rights Distribution Deal The deal is reportedly being finalised for the Chinese Super League (CSL) international media rights for the three seasons from 2021 to 2023. The deal will cover exclusive media rights for the football league in all territories outside China and Macau. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Dongqiudi (Chinese) Mailman Take: A tough task awaits MediaPro Asia to market the league’s media rights globally, with the glitz and glamour of the CSL having faded following an exodus of international stars and heavy salary caps implemented, not to mention reigning champions Jiangsu F.C. now ceasing to exist. 3. China’s Women’s National Football Team Reaches the Tokyo Olympics The Steel Roses qualified for the Tokyo Olympics following a close-fought victory against South Korea. Former PSG striker and Wuhan native Wang Shuang scored the extra-time winner, leading to an outpouring of joy and emotion from Chinese netizens on social media. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) Mailman Take: A historic and very important moment for Chinese football which will bring hundreds of millions to follow the women’s national football team in Tokyo this summer. Social media was awash with praise, with the hashtag #ChinaQualifiedForTokyo2020# generating 780M impressions and 209K discussions on Weibo, becoming the #1 trending topic on the platform that night.


4. Beijing Completes Test Events on 300-Day Countdown The "Experience Beijing" ice sports testing program ended on the same day Beijing 2022 welcomed its 300-day countdown. Events of six ice sports were staged in five Olympic venues in Beijing during the 10-day tests. With three of the venues being legacies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and advanced technologies in place, Beijing is determined to host environmentally-friendly Games that are also safe under COVID-19 scenarios through the testing program. Read more on China Daily (English) and China News Service (Chinese) 5. Dongqiudi Lands Streaming Deal with CSL The non-exclusive deal will provide free live streams of four matches per round. The streams will be available via its app and website, and will be supported by other CSL- related content including news, short videos and online fan community features. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Dongqiudi (Chinese)


6. China Donates Vaccines to CONMEBOL Chinese company Sinovac Biotech will donate 50K doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to CONMEBOL, the South American governing football body. CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez stated that the vaccine would be used to inoculate male and female members of South American professional teams in top divisions. Read more on SportsPro (English) and Zhibo8 (Chinese)


7. JD Partners with Seven National Teams

JD announced on the official Weibo account they have reached official partnerships with China's national swimming team, weightlifting team, boxing team, rock climbing team, archery team, beach volleyball team and yachting team. Read more on Ecoports (Chinese)


Esports Overwatch League to Resume Live Events in China This Season The Overwatch League (OWL) is working with Chinese officials “to reintroduce offline competition while still prioritizing the safety of players, fans, and staff.” Matches will be held during three of the four tournaments scheduled to take place throughout the season, including the Hangzhou Spark which will host fans for the June Joust, the Shanghai Dragons will welcome fans back to the Summer Showdown, and in August, the Guangzhou Charge will host fans for the Countdown Cup. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Sina (Chinese) Bilibili Signs Exclusive Partnership with Activision Blizzard, Nets Broadcast Rights to Overwatch League

The Chinese live-streaming platform has entered into a multi-year strategic partnership with Overwatch League (OWL) owner Activision Blizzard, which includes the Chinese production and broadcasting rights to the league in China, further development of the commercial interests, as well as support to promote OWL in the region. Bilibili also confirmed that the company was granted exclusive broadcasting distribution rights in China for OWL. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Huanqiu (Chinese)

Opinion Anta Sports and Li-Ning Rival Big International Brands for Sportswear Sales in China, but are Virtually Unknown Anywhere Else Despite their high domestic profile, supply of Chinese teams’ Olympics uniforms and participation in global fashion weeks, they are barely known outside China. Jack Lau from SCMP explains why.

Other News Alibaba Accepts Record Fine

The Chinese tech giant accepted a record penalty imposed by the country's anti-monopoly regulator. The $2.8B fine came after a probe determined that it had abused its market position for years. The fine amounts to about 4% of the company's 2019 domestic revenue. Alibaba added that it was not aware of any further anti-monopoly investigations by Chinese regulators, though it mentioned that Alibaba and its competitors would remain under review in China over mergers and acquisitions. Read more on BBC (English) and Sina (Chinese) --

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