• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 19th March


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


Making headlines this week: Kuaishou to integrate third-party networks into live broadcasts, Jiangsu FC withdraws from the AFC, iQIYI Sports lands exclusive broadcast rights for The Masters, FC Bayern announces youth cooperation, China’s trading card revolution enjoys record-breaking 2020, and China is set to lift entertainment event capacity restrictions in low-risk areas.


Top Industry News


1. Kuaishou to Integrate Third-Party Networks into Live Broadcasts of the CBA The copyright cooperation between Kuaishou and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) League covers live CBA matches as well as classic replays of CBA games. Third-party Multi Channel Network (MCN) organisations, influencers and fans will be able to co-create content as part of the broadcasts. Kuaishou will also provide opportunities for lucky fans to win draws, while some CBA players will be opening their own personal Kuaishou accounts soon. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and ChinaNews (Chinese) Mailman Take: Handing over control of live content to fans is something international sports organisations will have to adapt to in China. This is a progressive move by the CBA, opening up live and archive content to fans and influencers across the country. There will be potential issues around brand quality and consistency, yet it's a bold statement to other organisations on what the fans and platforms want.


2. Jiangsu FC Withdraws from 2021 AFC Champions League

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) officially announced that Jiangsu FC will withdraw from the AFC Champions League 2021. Following Jiangsu's withdrawal, the play-off between South Korea's Pohang Steelers FC and Thailand's Ratchaburi FC is to be called off with both teams granted automatic qualification to compete in Group G along with Japan's Nagoya Grampus and Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim FC. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Huanqiu.com (Chinese) 3. iQIYI Sports to Exclusively Broadcast the 2021 US Masters

Fans in China will be able to watch the famous golf major championship exclusively on the iQIYI sports app, IPTV, and PC. iQiyi will also provide live coverage of the Augusta event from a variety of angles, inviting a number of senior golf event commentators to participate in the full live broadcast of the event. Read more on Beijing Youth Daily (Chinese)

4. FC Bayern Announce Youth Cooperation Agreements in China The Bundesliga champions have reached youth training cooperation agreements with Wuhan Three Town Football Club and Shanghai Hongkou District. Within the club cooperation, the 17-year-old goalkeeper Liu Shaoziyang from Wuhan TT FC, will become the first ever Chinese player trained in Munich. Read more on NetEase (Chinese)

5. MLB and Tencent Collaborate for Sports Life Jointly produced by Tencent Sports and Major League Baseball (MLB), Sports Life tells the story of local baseball heroes. The 12-episode short-form video series puts the spotlight on inspiring grassroots baseball stories, such as a baseball field built by 40 fathers, the first female baseball league in China, the first police baseball team, and much more. The series has generated 8.2M video views across all platforms, including Tencent, Weibo, Bilibili, Kuaishou, and Toutiao. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese) and watch the final episode here Mailman Take: Promoting local heroes and delivering authentic storytelling are key pillars to drive a successful content strategy in China. The MLB have utilised these to create positive and emotional narratives while integrating the sport of baseball, particularly at the grassroots level. 6. 12K Spectators Will Attend the CBA All-Star Weekend In a further move to steadily bring fans back to live sports events in China, the CBA All-Star Weekend will be held at the Qingdao Guoxin Diamond Gymnasium, which has a capacity of 12.5K. The Rising Star and All-Star Game will respectively welcome around 6K and 12K spectators. The CBA and the relevant departments in Qingdao have formulated a strict epidemic prevention system and strictly divided the venues, and all event-related personnel are required to undergo nucleic acid testing. Read more on Xinhuanet (Chinese)

7. TaylorMade Appointed Official Partner of the CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme

As part of the partnership, TaylorMade will provide advanced and high-quality golf equipment and products for tournament players. Read more Sohu (Chinese)

8. Archery World Cup Second Stage Moved from Shanghai to Lausanne Lausanne in Switzerland has replaced Shanghai as the host city for the second stage of the 2021 Archery World Cup series due to COVID-19. The stage will take place from May 17 - 23 at the World Archery Excellence Centre in the Swiss city. Read more on Inside the Games (English)


Opinion

Panini Leads China's Trading Card Revolution Card collecting culture has exploded onto the mainstream. Once a niche hobby, a market relegated to eBay message boards and annual card-cons, it’s now part of the mainstream for sports fans, investors, celebrities and all the cool kids in between. China has fast become the new frontier for card collecting, asserting itself as one of the fastest-growing markets in the industry. According to eBay’s “State of Trading Cards” report, China trailed only Australia’s growth, increasing the number of sales by 205% in 2020. Here Gideon Clark, Business Director at Mailman, explores why. Read the full blog (English)


Why Chinese Soccer Has to Die Before it Can Really Learn to Live Shenzhen-based sports and entertainment entrepreneur Greg Turner explains why the appearance of trouble at the top of Chinese soccer should not be mistaken for deep-rooted issues in the foundations. Read the full opinion piece on SportsPro (English) Esports China to Lift Entertainment Event Capacity Restrictions in Low-Risk Areas China’s National Ministry of Culture and Tourism will lift the event capacity restrictions on entertainment venues, including cinemas, theaters, and internet cafes from “low-risk” areas. The announcement was beneficial for China’s esports industry as internet cafes in China play an important role in developing esports communities. This signals good news for Tencent and esports operator VSPN, who recently announced that the Peacekeeper Elite annual event, Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC), will be hosted at the Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena this summer. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and The Paper (Chinese)


Events Esports Insider’s ESI Digital Spring

There will be over 60 speakers across the two days, and the themes focused on will be brands and sponsorship, investment, tournament delivery, fan engagement and more. Key topics will include insights related to China and its enormous and still growing market, Valve’s unique approach to their esports products, and chess’ growth throughout last year. Read more on Esports Insider (English)

Other News

Bilibili Eyes $3B in Hong Kong Listing The Chinese video platform could raise around $3B in its upcoming secondary listing in Hong Kong. The company stated it would sell 25M shares as part of the offering. Bilibili said the shares for retail investors will not be set higher than $127.2M, but the stock being sold to institutional investors could be set at a higher price. Read more on CNBC (English) and NetEase (Chinese)

Regulators Pressure Hits China's Tech Giants Regulators worried about the growing influence meant Tencent lost more than $60B from its market value as its share price dropped. Media reports also stated that Alibaba may have to sell some of its media assets under the crackdown. Chinese regulators have signalled a tougher approach towards tech firms. Read more on BBC (English) and Guancha.cn (Chinese) --

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