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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 19th February

Hello Industry Friends,

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

Making headlines this week: AFC qualifiers suspended until summer, Kuaishou lands world snooker partnership, PP Sports and Serie A reach new agreement, China’s cinemas see record growth, and there’s another bundle of creative Chinese New Year content to enjoy from the world’s leading sports organisations.

Top Industry News

1. AFC Qualifiers Postponed Until June The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup have been postponed until June. The joint Asian qualifying competition for the World Cup and Asian Cup is currently in its second phase, with one more group stage and a playoff round to go. FIFA stated the second round must be completed by June, the third round by September, and the entire process by April 2022. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Titan (Chinese)

2. Kuaishou Wins Snooker Media Rights

The short-form video platform announced a partnership with the world’s snooker events’ new media copyright owner Beijing Ruigai, becoming the first Chinese short video platform to win media rights to snooker events. Kuaishou will help promote the development of the snooker industry through short videos, live streaming, and other technologies, and provide Kuaishou users with more content on the sport. Read more on Dao (English) Lanxiong Sports (Chinese)

Mailman Take: Snooker is a hugely popular participation sport in China, and currently has a number of up-and-coming stars such as reigning Masters champion Yan Bingtao. This could prove to be a smart investment from Kuaishou, especially if domestic talent can keep growing in the same way as it did for the likes of UFC.

3. IOC President Sends Greetings to Xi on Spring Festival International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach sent a letter of greetings to the Chinese President during the Spring Festival. In his letter, Bach wished Xi and all Chinese people good health and a prosperous and successful Year of the Ox. The Year of the Ox is an important moment for the Olympics, he said, adding that with the Beijing Winter Olympics approaching, the world will come together under the guidance of the spirit of peace, solidarity and friendship. Read more on Beijing 2022 (English) and Xinhuanet (Chinese)

4. PP Sports and Serie A Reach New Agreement Following a pause to Serie A coverage on the Suning-owned digital broadcaster PP Sports, both sides have now come to a new agreement which will see the commencement of online coverage in China. NetEase (Chinese)

Mailman Take: Suning needs to keep hold of what it can at the moment, particularly the Italian league, given its current status as owners of league leaders Inter Milan. 5. MLB Launches MLB Kitchen for CNY Major League Baseball (MLB) added authentic ballpark flavours to the Chinese New Year feast by launching a 10-episode original short-form food series called MLB Kitchen. MLB China teamed up with a popular food influencer Fiona to give 10 cooking lessons on how to make signature ballpark food and introduce the rich history and culture of MLB clubs. MLB also launched a “Customised Fenway Park Hotdog” challenge on Douyin, generating 38M video views and 277K engagements within a week. Read more on Huanqiu (Chinese) and watch the first MLB Kitchen episode here (Chinese)

Chinese New Year Special: Part 2 Due to the number of wonderful creatives being produced over the holiday period, we’ve added a second edition of the best CNY original content. (Part 1)

  • Babolat - placed their key product names in a local context that represents both modern and traditional Chinese New Year celebrations

  • Borussia Mönchengladbach - a comic series, a player greeting video, a WeChat digital Hongbao in BMG style, and an original guitar song by club ambassadors sung in Chinese

  • BWF - a series of traditional Chinese New Year images posted across the New Year holiday and integrated badminton features into traditional Chinese settings

  • FC Barcelona - an animated poster showing a classic Chinese landscape encompassing both Chinese landmarks and Barcelona's key players

  • Formula 1 - a highlights video accompanied by a custom created CNY theme song, in the style of traditional Chinese folk music

  • Real Madrid - a New Year’s greetings video with their Asian partner KOK, a creative video celebrating CNY and Luka Modric’s animal year

  • Serie A - a CNY poster illustrating some of the league’s most exciting players, with a New Year’s message

  • Sevilla - created a 6-part video series featuring five SFC players greeting our Chinese fans integrating sponsors Valvoline and TLCBet

  • US Open - adapted traditional Chinese stamps to create a series featuring top tennis players for each day of the holiday

  • WTA - a New Year’s greeting video from WTA stars


China Sports Marketers Have Plenty Of COVID Lessons To Digest Ahead Of Olympics

Forbes’ Shanghai bureau chief Russell Flannery spoke with Mailman China’s Managing Director Justin Tan, to discuss what can sports marketers looking to tap into the big China market learn from audience trends since the beginning of the pandemic a year ago? Read the article on Forbes (English)

Esports Beijing Universal Resort Teams Up with Tencent For 2022 Seasonal Events As part of the long-term partnership, Tencent’s Honor of Kings, Peacekeeper Elite, QQ Speed, and card game Doudizhu, as well as several other games, will be officially added to the Beijing Universal Resort (BUR) 2022 seasonal event. This will be the first cooperation between Tencent and the world-leading theme park, Universal. Read more on Pandaily (English) and Beijing Daily (Chinese) Other News

China Movie-Goers Pivot to Home-Grown Entertainment Ticket sales from cinemas in China are expected to jump to US$9B this year, while in the US, cinemas are likely to take in about a third of that. China recently overtook the US to become the top movie market, and with this, Chinese viewers are now pivoting to local language films which show a greater sensitivity toward portrayals of China and its people in Western culture. Read more on SCMP (English) and Global Times (Chinese) --

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Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Mailman is a global sports digital consultancy and agency. We help the world’s leading sports organisations serve their audiences and build their businesses. With over 200 experts across China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US, we specialise in digital strategy, transformation, social media, content production and eCommerce. Learn more about our story here.


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