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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 18th November

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: UFC collaborates with Special Olympics, Zhang Weili reclaims UFC strawweight belt, federations launch on RED ahead of Qatar 2022, WTA announces 2023 initial calendar without China event, Shinai lands AFC rights, snow sports and esports collide, how Alibaba tapped the Chinaverse.

🗞️ Top Industry News UFC Collaborates with Special Olympics The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced a collaboration to support Special Olympics, a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. The 'UFC Performance Institute Tour' took place on November 12 at the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai which included a donation ceremony and a training session. Read more on China Daily (English) and Beijing Daily (Chinese)


Zhang Weili Reclaims UFC Belt at 281 The MMA superstar claimed back the strawweight belt at a packed-out Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York, making it the 27th time in a row the UFC has sold out an event. Weili was arguably the most popular fighter that evening, as fans around MSG chanted her name from the second she walked into the arena. Read more on China Daily (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: The cheering for Zhang Weili around Madison Square Garden shows just how well respected and loved the China star is around the world. A true icon of MMA, Weili is now regarded as one of the greatest ever athletes to compete in UFC, and she’s not finished yet. Weili is also inspiring a new generation of UFC fans and athletes in China, as the global organisation continues to be one of the most popular across the country.


Spanish and Belgian Football Federations Launch on RED The football federations of Belgium and Spain have agreed to content partnerships with the popular Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu (RED) ahead of their appearances at the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Ecosports (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: With the FIFA World Cup kicking off this weekend, football federations involved in the quadrennial tournament are rushing to launch on as many social platforms as possible. Despite China not making the cut, hundreds of millions of fans around the country will no doubt tune in to watch their favourite players, not to mention the hoards of Chinese sponsors involved in the showpiece event. WTA Tour Announces Initial 2023 Calendar with No Chinese Events With the first part of the 2023 calendar now having been released, there are once again no events in China listed. However, the WTA has said it is yet to make any decisions on the last portion of the calendar. Read more on SportsPro (English) iQiyi Sports Lands AFC Rights Following Super Sports Media Termination The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced a media rights agreement in China with Beijing XinAi Sports Media Technology (iQiyi Sports) following the termination of its deal with Super Sports Media. iQiyi Sports will hold rights to the federation’s competitions until the end of the 2021-24 cycle. These include the 2023 and 2024 editions of the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup, the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, and the 2024 AFC Under-23 Asian Cup. Read more on SportBusiness (English) China Appoints Serbia's Djordjevic as Men's Basketball Head Coach The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) announced that Serbia's Aleksandar Djordjevic will serve as the new head coach of China's men's basketball team. Djordjevic will lead China into the sixth window of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the FIBA World Cup. Read more on China Daily (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) Snow Sports and Esports Worlds Collide with Burton x LoL Collab For the first time, snowboard brand Burton has teamed up with League of Legends (LoL) to release a brand new line of winter sports clothing and gear. Based on two popular characters in League of Legends, Jinx, and Ezrael, the joint series consists of a full range of women’s products, including snowboards, helmets, goggles, sweaters, and wool hats. Read more on Dao (English) and Socialbeta (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion Decoding China’s CIIE And What It Means For Foreign Brands This year, the fifth edition of CIIE (China International Import Expo) hosted enterprises from 145 countries, including multiple brands under L’Oréal, Kering Group, and Richemont, and the value of intended deals jumped to $73.5bn. Of those who attended, there were 284 Fortune 500 companies. The message from China’s latest Congress intimated that the country, despite “Dynamic Zero” COVID restrictions, does not want to isolate itself and welcomes more international trade. Read more on Jing Daily (English) How Alibaba Tapped The Chinaverse For Double 11 During China’s annual Double 11 (which took place on November the 11th) shopping extravaganza, it was all systems go for top players to show off their marketing chops. Over the past year, that’s meant utilising the technological and digital advancements surging through the country’s e-commerce landscape, as well as tapping the changing behavior of local consumers, particularly the spending power of Gen Z. Read more on Jing Daily (English)


🎮 Esports World of Warcraft and Other Blizzard Games Will Be Pulled From China Blizzard Entertainment is suspending most of its gaming services in China after failing to renew a licensing deal with NetEase, a Chinese gaming partner. Read more on NYT (English) China Esports Blast: October 2022 In October in China, Dota 2 and League of Legends fans experienced one of the most disappointing times in esports history. The Chinese Dota 2 team Team Aster and League of Legends team Jingdong Gaming lost in the semi-finals of Dota 2’s The International (TI11) and League of Legends World Championship (Worlds 2022), respectively. Read more on Esports Insider (English)


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