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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 19th January

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China and the wider Asia region.


📰 Headlines: BYD becomes EURO 2024 partner, TCL continues partnership with FIBA, Haier named BWF partner, Australian Open extends partnership with CCTV and signs new deal with Luckin Coffee, Honor of Kings resumes on Douyin, Chengdu bets big on esports, as well as the rest of the big news from across Asia, including Othani & Konamo, Suwon FC & Pratama Arhan, and the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics.


🗞️ Top Industry News


BYD Becomes Official E-Mobility Partner of UEFA EURO 2024

The Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer has been announced as a major sponsor of EURO 2024, where it will contribute to UEFA’s goal of organising the most sustainable EUROs to date. To help achieve this, BYD will provide a range of NEVs for various stakeholders during the tournament. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Xinhua (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: Chinese electric vehicle companies, of which there are many, have been steadily growing their reputation locally through sponsoring top-level sporting events and organisations, and now their strategy is going global. As 2024 ticks along, keep an eye out for BYD, Nio, Wuling, Xpeng, and Zeekr - just some major Chinese EV brands at home and abroad we expect to be showing up at sporting events worldwide.


TCL Partners with FIBA

The Chinese consumer appliances firm has become the latest top-tier Global Partner of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), extending its contract to 2027. The renewal means FIBA has now announced extensions with four of 10 Global Partners since Qatar was awarded hosting rights at the end of April 2023. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Ecosports (Chinese)


Haier Named Southeast Asia Official Partner of BWF

The Chinese home appliances and consumer electronics company has become the Southeast Asia Official Partner of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for 2024 - 2025. The agreement signing took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on the back of Haier being the official partner of the ongoing Petronas Malaysia Open 2024 badminton championship. Read more on The Rayat Post (English) and (Chinese)


Multi-year Broadcast Extension of AO on CCTV Sports

Tennis Australia and China Media Group (CMG) announced a multi-year extension which sees CMG’s CCTV Sports platforms continue to broadcast the Australian Open (AO) in China on free to air television until 2026. A long-term broadcast partner of the AO, the extension incorporates new opportunities for CMG’s digital platforms, including the streaming of selected daily matches, in addition to its television coverage. Read more on Aus Open (English)


Australian Open and Luckin Coffee Announce New Partnership

The Australian Open has agreed to a new multi-year partnership with the resurgent coffee brand, which means Luckin Coffee becomes the AO’s Official Coffee Partner in China and South East Asia. Luckin, which was previously struggling in the China market, is a leading retail coffee company with over 13,000 stores across more than 300 cities in China and is now expanding into Singapore. Read more on Aus Open (English) and YT Sports (Chinese)


💡 Mailman Take: At one point in the not so distant past, Luckin Coffee’s future was looking bleak, yet a renewed strategy and focus across Asia has given the coffee brand the caffeine kick it needed. Fast forward, Luckin is now partnering with blue chip sporting events such as the AO, where we expect plenty of Chinese fans to be following the action and seeing the company’s logo featuring prominently.


Tencent’s Honor of Kings to Resume Livestreaming on Douyin After Five-year Ban

Tencent announced that its hit game Honor of Kings would resume livestreaming on Douyin, five years after it was banned following a copyright infringement case. In 2016, Tencent sued ByteDance for livestreaming the online game on its subsidiary video platform Xigua. Read more on TechNode (English) and The Paper (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion


Is Chengdu Becoming China's Esports Capital?

With various major tournaments announced, the Chinese city is bound to become a major esports hub in 2024. The Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone (CDHT) aims to become a true esports hub in the following years, with planned investments in the esports industry fund estimated at $140m, and an esports angel fund of $14mRead more on (English)


China’s Gen Z Wants ‘Lazy Health,’ Budget Lifestyle Trends in 2024

In 2023, one-third of young users on the Chinese social app Soul reported they “almost always felt lonely.” Whether it is due to an intensive work schedule, geographical distance, or social isolation, China’s Gen Zers are experiencing a so-called “friendship recession.” Read more on Jing Daily (English)


🎮 Esports


Chengdu Announced as IEM China Host

Esports tournament organiser ESL has announced that IEM China will be hosted in Chengdu. The $250,000 prize pool event will be held April 8 - 14 this year. The playoffs, which take place April 12 - 14, will occur live at the Wuliangye Chengdu Performing Arts Centre. Read more on Esports Insider (English) and (Chinese)


🎤 Rest of Asia News

Ohtani Becomes Konami's Ambassador

Shohei Ohtani, the renowned baseball player, has been appointed as the ambassador for Konami Group’s baseball game series 'Power Pros' in its 30th year. This follows Ohtani's record-breaking $700m contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which has positively influenced the stock prices of his sponsors. Read more on Japan Times (English)

💡 Mailman Take: The alliance between Ohtani and Konami underlines the effective use of sports personalities in brand promotion. It showcases the continued impact of such partnerships in drawing consumer attention and strengthening brand associations.


Suwon FC Sign Pratama Arhan

Suwon FC signed Indonesian Football star, Pratama Arhan, on a free transfer. He will be the first Indonesian player to have a career in South Korea's football top division. Read more on Void (English)


💡 Mailman Take: After Tokyo Verdy in Japan, Pratama Arhan will spread his wings on Asia's biggest stage with Suwon FC, in South Korea. This transfer also strengthens Indonesia's business cooperation with South Korea. Not only with the ongoing entertainment business, the football business between the two countries is also getting stronger, through the influence of Shin Tae Yong (NT coach) on Indonesian football as a whole.


2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics

The Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games will commence on Jan 19 in Gangwon Province in the eastern part of the Korean Peninsula, bringing together a record 1,803 young athletes from 79 countries across the world. The event is the fourth edition of the Youth Winter Olympic Games and the first one ever hosted in Asia. Read more on The Korea Times (English)


💡 Mailman Take: From the 2002 World Cup to the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, it is exciting to see South Korea become a more active country in terms of hosting major sports events over the past few years. Moreover, as South Korea has also become a country more in the spotlight in terms of generating sports stars such as Son Heung Min, Kim Yuna, and Park Inbee, we look forward to seeing which new stars will come into the spotlight from the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics.


 Founded in China in 1999, Mailman has evolved to become one of Asia’s leading sports digital agencies. We are digital marketers who help sports rights holders enhance their local brand equity and create sustainable presences. We exist at the intersection of digital & technology, helping the world’s biggest sports, entertainment & lifestyle brands build successful businesses in international growth markets. Mailman is part of 160over90, an Endeavor Company. Learn more about our story here.

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