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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 17th February


Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: Wu Yibing creates tennis history, CSL clubs must have women’s teams, Ping An renews CSL title sponsorship, schools eye improved coaching, CFA boss under investigation, a white paper on the direct-to-consumer market opportunities, and VSPO lands $265m in Saudi investment.

 

🗞️ Top Industry News Wu Yibing Creates History with ATP Tour Title The 23-year-old male became the first Chinese man to win an ATP Tour title, defeating John Isner at the Dallas Open. Ranked 97th in the world before the tournament, Wu has risen to world number 58, making him the highest-ranked Chinese player in ATP history. Read more on BBC (English) and China News (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: One of the biggest moments for tennis in China since Li Na won the Australian Open in 2014 and French Open in 2011. Tennis could be a big winner this year, with the talented young crop of Chinese players set to participate at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, as well as at the China Open in Beijing. Expect more trophies and titles for China’s men and women this year.


 

CSL Clubs Must Have Women’s Team to Meet Entry Conditions The list of entry requirements for Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs just got more extensive, with clubs now required by the Chinese Football Association to establish a women’s football team in order to participate in the upcoming season. “This women’s team should take part in the Chinese Women’s Super League or the second-and third-tier league,” Xinhua News Agency reported. Read more on Front Office Sports (English) and Sohu (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: A huge decision that will elevate women’s football to the next level across the country ahead of arguably the biggest-ever women’s football tournament this summer in Australia and New Zealand. China is in the top three countries worldwide in terms of investment in women's football and was also the first country to introduce equal pay for men and women in national football. Ping An Renews CSL Title Sponsorship The Chinese Super League (CSL), the top tier of Chinese football, has renewed its title sponsorship with insurance giant Ping An. The deal will cover the 2023 season and will be worth a reported $14.7m. Ping An has served as the title sponsor of the CSL since 2014. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and NetEase (Chinese) Schools Ready to Hire Coaches to Improve Sports Education Schools and universities can establish positions for sports coaches to offer guidance to students and alleviate the shortage of sports teachers, a new guideline has stated. The guideline, issued by the General Administration of Sport and three other departments, said primary, middle, high schools, secondary vocational schools and universities can all establish such full-time or part-time posts. Read more on China Daily (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Sports Ministers Eye Collaborations The trio issued a joint statement on increasing cooperation between the three countries on sports projects. Key upcoming projects highlighted include Korea’s hosting of the Winter Youth Olympics in 2024, in Gangwon-do Province, this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and the 2025 Tokyo Summer Deaflympics. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Sina (Chinese) Chinese Football Chief Probed for Suspected "Serious Violation of Law" The chairman of the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has been put under investigation for suspected serious violations of discipline and law, China's sports regulator said. The probe of Chen Xuyuan, who was also the deputy party secretary for the football organisation, came after a recent anti-corruption investigation of Chinese football. Read more on Reuters (English) and China News (Chinese) Adidas Releases New Sports Label to Attract China’s Gen-Z For the first time in 50 years, sportswear giant Adidas has unveiled plans to release its new label Adidas Sportswear around the globe with a special plan to reel in China’s Gen Z. Launched in early February, the collection is specially designed for light sports and everyday activities. Adidas handpicked some of China’s favourite sports athletes to advertise its brand-new clothing line. Read more on DAO (English) and NetEase (Chinese) Xuperman Sports Table Tennis Experience Hall Unveiled Several generations of famous table tennis players gathered at Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium to celebrate the launch of Xuperman Sport, founded by Chinese table tennis star Xu Xin. Read more on Tencent (Chinese) Puma 2023 Runway Show Merges Ancient Chinese Inventions with Esports Puma rang up the curation of its 2023 collection, fusing elements from China’s historic “Four Great Inventions” (the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing) to its sports credentials. By tapping into the rising cultural confidence of the young Chinese demographics, Puma unveiled “New Chinese Style” sportswear flavoured with Western aesthetics. Read more on DAO (English)

 

🔬 White papers China DTC 2023: Opportunities for Sports Rights Holders At Mailman, we’ve been following the evolution of direct-to-consumer (DTC) closely in China, advising and engaging our partners and clients to take them through this new journey. Read the full report on Mailman (English)


 

🤔 Opinion Realistic Expectations for the Uptick in Consumption in 2023 Over the last 12 years of studying the China market, we have observed one consistent behaviour demonstrated by the best-performing brands in China: their ability to adapt and act quickly to changes in the market. Since China opened up in early January, brands have been quick to gauge the upturn in consumer sentiment alongside the Government's appetite to boost consumption. Many brands have already announced investments to ride the latest China wave. Read more on China Skinny (English)

 

🎮 Esports Saudi Arabia-backed Group to Invest $265m in VSPO Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund-backed Savvy Games Group will invest $265mn in Chinese esports company VSPO. The deal gives Savvy a minority stake and makes it VSPO’s largest institutional shareholder. Read more on FT (English) and Ecosports (Chinese) All Signs Point to China Getting its own Valorant League While it is pretty clear that Riot Games isn’t quite ready to talk about its plans for Valorant esports in China, it is also obvious that the company and its partners such as TJ Sports—its joint venture with parent company Tencent Holdings in the region—are already in negotiations to start building a major international league for the country. Read more on The Esports Advocate (English) Mailman Esports Blast - January For the first month of 2023, after China fully reopened and dropped COVID-19 policies and travel restrictions, the country’s esports industry witnessed some positive news. However, looming large was the fact that China lost access to Blizzard’s esports titles in January, as the official partnership between Activision Blizzard and NetEase ended on January 23rd. Read more on Esports Insider (English)

 

Mailman is China’s leading sports digital agency. We exist at the intersection of digital & sports. We help top sports organisations & brands to build sustainable businesses in China, one of the world's most challenging markets. Mailman is part of the Endeavor network. Learn more about our story here.


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