• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 18th June


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


📰 Headlines: Wanda & FIFA ignite youth football, Yili lands 4-year deal with AFC, MLB teams up with university esports, five host cities selected for League of Legends Worlds, Kuaishou to invest US$1B overseas, and SportsPro APAC returns.

🗞️ Top Industry News

Wanda and FIFA Launch ‘Ignite the Hope’ Campaign The initiative will aim to boost interest in football amongst youngsters in China, running until the end of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The new campaign is designed to spark even more passion for football in China and tap into the country’s potential in the beautiful game. Read more on Wenhui Daily (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: A much-needed initiative by FIFA and Wanda to inspire the future generations of Chinese football fans. China’s recent qualification has fan optimism at an all-time high, providing FIFA and Wanda with the momentum to ride this wave and reach the masses.


Yili Group Sponsors AFC National Team Competitions

The Chinese dairy products company becomes an Official Partner at a reported US$30M for the 2021-24 cycle. The deal, yet to be officially announced, will be one of the biggest in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) history. Read more on SportBusiness (English) 💡 Mailman Take: Yili is determined to make up ground on rival Mengniu, which bagged a high-level sponsorship of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The ongoing Euros and Copa America are reinforcing that global football tournaments remain hugely popular with Chinese fans, and a key marketing opportunity for many Chinese brands.

MLB Partners with WUCG Esports

Teaming up with the WUCG (World University Cyber Games), MLB is aiming to promote baseball among Chinese college students through esports. The City Finals of the spring season will kick off in Nanjing, Jiangsu on June 19th. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese)


HLA Partners with Chinese National Men's Football Team

National team coach Li Tie, alongside star players, was present at the press conference announcement of the team’s new formalwear partner. Read more on CFA.cn (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: Right now is the time to partner. Confidence across the country is high and social media flooded with praise for the team. HLA will be looking at a bumper few years if the team ends up qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar next year. Eileen Gu Nominated for ESPY Award

The Chinese-American skier’s nomination for an Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Award in this year’s “best athlete, women’s action sports” category will be chosen via fan votes after the event’s select nominating committee vet the candidates. Read more on SCMP (English) and NetEase (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: A huge year for Eileen Gu, and 2022 will be even bigger. Set to be the face of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the 17-year-old recently signed ambassador roles with a number of global tier-1 luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Victoria’s Secret. Remember the name.


🎮 Esports Host Cities Selected for League of Legends World Championship 2021

Organiser Riot Games revealed that Shanghai, Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Shenzhen are the chosen ones. The grand finals are set for November 6 at the 60K-seater Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China’s fifth-largest city. The event was held solely in Shanghai last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Read more on Reuters (English) and Chinanews.com (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: No big surprise to see these five cities get the nod, although Guangzhou may have been overlooked due to recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the region.


Opinion Why Digital Sports Entertainment is the Next Big Sports Industry Business in China

Favourable national policies in China have led to rapid growth of the sports industry, and the industry's newest main driver comes from the technology-enabled sports entertainment business. Read more on SCMP (English)

🗞️ Other News Kuaishou Plans US$1B Investment Overseas In the first three months of the year, the short-form video platform spent more than US$250M on overseas markets, accounting for one-sixth of the company’s total marketing expenses in Q1 of 2021. Read more on Jiemian (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: The Kuaishou vs. ByteDance battle goes global. TikTok was the first Chinese-owned app to penetrate the West, and now Kuaishou, known as Kwai internationally, will seek to make a similar impact. Kuaishou’s upper hand on live commerce has the Tencent-backed app well placed. The battle re-commences. China’s Holiday Box Office Plummets to Seven-year Low Revenue over the Dragon Boat Festival holiday was US$72.6M, the lowest level since 2014. The film industry is still facing financial difficulties following the pandemic, with production companies citing tight cash flow and rising debt. Read more on SCMP (English) and NetEase (Chinese) Quantum Studios Against Excessive Hours The Shenzhen-based video game developer owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent, has introduced a set of policies designed to prevent employees from working excessive hours and encourage them to use vacation time. Read more on SupChina (English) and mydrivers.com (Chinese) 🎫 Events SportsPro APAC Agenda Released The annual event, set to take place on July 7-8, has just dropped its action-packed agenda, featuring keynotes and panels from the leading minds within the Asia sports industry. Mailman is once again proud to partner with this event. Learn more here

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