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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 1st April

Hello Industry Friends, here are the very latest news and insights from China.

📰 Headlines: The NBA returns to CCTV, La Liga launches Alipay Mini Program, local sportswear booms, Pixellot to stream SFA games, joggers drive running craze, World University Games still on, Weibo eyes NFTs, D&G speaks out.


🗞️ Top Industry News

The NBA Returns to CCTV China’s state broadcaster unexpectedly aired a National Basketball Association (NBA) game for the first time in 18 months, offering some hope that relations between the league and China are improving. The game shown was between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Read more on Reuters (English) and The Paper (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: This happened without any major announcement or marketing, highlighting that CCTV is remaining low-key regarding the NBA, despite the return of matches on-air. Only in the long term can we tell if the relationship is fixed. Not including the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, CCTV has focused less on international sports IPs in recent years, meaning the IPs must put more importance on the partnerships with digital broadcasters and short video platforms. La Liga Launches Alipay Mini Program The Spanish football organisation has become the first national football association to launch an official Mini Program on the platform. On La Liga’s Mini Program, fans can access club information, take part in competitions, join communities, and watch unique content. Read more on Sina (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Alipay has forever trailed Tencent's powerful and ever-evolving social media ecosystem. Whilst Alipay has never been able to penetrate the social circle, this could be an early step to be a major player in this Mini Program space. As of December last year, Alipay had 640M monthly active users, representing a significant opportunity for sports organisations to tap into new audiences and further engage current ones.


China's Local Sportswear Industry Booms

China's homegrown sportswear brands are connecting with the country’s younger generation as the battle between local and international brands heats up. The burgeoning Chinese athletic apparel industry has been heavily boosted by the recent Beijing Olympics, emerging as a new driving force for China's economic growth. Read more on Xinhua (English) Pixellot to Stream SFA Games The AI-powered video content production company’s deal with the Shanghai Football Association (SFA) will see matches from three professional leagues and one youth league within the SFA streamed via Pixellot’s unmanned cameras and broadcast on third-party outlets such as Migu, Tencent, and Read more on SportTechie (English) Joggers Drive Running Boom in China The growing interest from the public has brought out a surge in mass events such as marathons, with running now claimed to be the most participated sport in China. The country saw the number of marathons taking place in the country hit 1,828 in 2019 – a more than 30-fold increase compared to 51 in 2014. Read more on DAO (English)

China’s World University Games Still on Despite Withdrawals Organisers of the World University Games, which open in just under three months in Chengdu, say they are going ahead despite some countries pulling out of the event. Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Luxembourg have reportedly withdrawn due to COVID-19 concerns. Read more on AP (English)


🎮 Esports No Person-to-person Shooting in PUBG Mobile's Asian Games Version PUBG Mobile will have a new version different from the original to avoid the exposure of excessive violence for when it makes its debut at the Asian Games in Hangzhou this year. The battle royal experience that PUBG is known for will possibly be removed. Read more on InsideTheGames (English)


🗞️ Other News

Kuaishou Shares Slide Concerns about more curbs on China’s online video industry dampened optimism over the company’s better-than-expected results. Wall Street Journal reported regulators are considering restrictions on the livestreaming business including daily caps on tipping - a key source of revenue for Kuaishou and its peers. Read more on Bloomberg (English) and Sina (Chinese)

Weibo Plugs in NFT-powered Platform Weibo has teamed up with TopHolder, an NFT-powered digital collectible platform that is under the World Show, the developer of China’s 3D virtual life community - Honnerse. With the developer’s expertise, the partnership will not only help Weibo upgrade its ecosystem with the hyped technology, but also provides a pathway for the platform to tap into the Metaverse. Read more on DAO (English)


🤔 Opinion Four Years On, Dolce & Gabbana Speaks Out After China Scandal What was worse than the culturally tone-deaf campaign showing a Chinese model eating Italian food with chopsticks was its aftermath: when the co-founder took to Instagram to viciously badmouth the country. The fallout was dramatic and went well beyond China. Jing Daily spoke to the appointed group communication and marketing officer to discuss how it’s moving on from one of the most publicised missteps.


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