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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 1st December

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: English Premier League and Village Super League eye deeper cooperation, Eileen Gu to promote Gangwon’s Youth Olympic Games, snow tourism set for growth, trends and opportunities in China’s outdoor sports industry, China’s rural sports bring people together, Chengdu set for big international esports month, and the rise of in-game marketing and esports. 🎤 In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Ouyang Zhangwei, Chief Planner of the Guizhou Village Super League, about how the Village Super League was born, making the tournament more popular whilst keeping culture and tradition, the cooperation with the English Premier League, and what we can expect from the league in 2024 and beyond


🗞️ Top Industry News Premier League Delegation Visits "Village Super League" for Future Cooperation An English Premier League delegation embarked on a two-day visit to promote future football cooperation with the Village Super League, known in China as "Cun Chao" by netizens. The visit took place in Rongjiang county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province, the location where the Village Super League was born. Read more on Xinhua (English) and (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: It was only a matter of time until a global football organisation jumped on the golden opportunity to collaborate with one of the hottest sports trends in China right now - village football. Although still early days, village football has a genuine opportunity to grow as big as the village basketball craze and start attracting big social platforms, media partners, and brands. Last week it was the Bundesliga and the Chinese Football Association, this week is the EPL and Village Super League - positive signs for the promotion and improvement of Chinese football at the grassroots level.


Eileen Gu to Promote Gangwon’s Youth Olympic Games The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that China’s two-time Olympic and Youth Olympic freestyle skiing champion, Eileen Gu, will serve as the global ambassador for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Gangwon, South Korea. Gu has YOG connections having competed in the 2020 Games in Lausanne, where she also won gold in halfpipe and big air, along with silver in slopestyle. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Tencent (Chinese) Snow Tourism Set for Robust Growth The first skiing season since China opened its borders means the country’s ice and snow-related tourism sector is poised for strong growth. Thanks to momentum sustained from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, it is well set to stimulate a multibillion-dollar industry, industry experts said. Read more on China Daily (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) China’s Outdoor Sports Industry: Growth Potential, Trends, and Opportunities Several factors are behind the upward demand for products and services in China’s outdoor sports industry, including preferences for an active lifestyle, functional requirements of athleisure wear, and demographic-linked consumer trends. Read more on China Briefing (English) How Gen Z Sees the World: China's Rural Sports Make People Closer The culture of rural sports in China has been gaining worldwide attention. From football and basketball to volleyball, events organized by local villagers feature fierce competition and enthusiastic fans. Read more on CGTN (English) and China Daily (Chinese)


🎮 Esports Esports Sector Enters Era of Globalization as China Welcomes International Players Five major international esports events are set to take place in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province in December as China's esports sector opens a new chapter of globalization ushered in by the Hangzhou Asian Games. Read more on Global Times (English) and NetEase (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion The Rise of In-game Marketing and Esports in China: A Guide for Brands and Businesses The potential to reach the gaming audience in China is massive fuelled by a surge of 480 million players. Read more on Campaign Asia (English)


🎤 From The Top 🗣️ Ouyang Zhangwei, Chief Planner of the Guizhou Village Super League 1. How did the village football concept come about in China? Football has a tradition dating back more than 80 years in Zongjiang County in Guizhou Province. Over the decades, various football tournaments have been held annually between villages and neighbourhoods. During the Spring Festival celebrations this year, Rongjiang Sanbao Dong Village organised the Spring Festival tournament, and then after that, the concept of the "Village Super League" was proposed for the first time. On May 13 this year, Rongjiang Sanbao Dong Village and Meixiang Village Super Leagues were established, and they quickly gained popularity and were dubbed "Cun Chao" (village football) by netizens. 2. How does Village Football adapt its marketing strategies to resonate with diverse audiences, considering China's unique cultural and regional aspects? With a total population of 385,000 in Rongjiang County, nearly 50,000 people are actively engaged in football. The county is also known for its 16 ethnic minorities, boasting a rich cultural heritage where the locals are known for their singing, dancing, and warm hospitality. The Village Super League not only focuses on the pure joy of rural football but also incorporates vibrant ethnic cultures. In the simple and hospitable atmosphere of the county's residents, the Village Super League is better positioned to meet the diverse needs of different audiences compared to other football events. 3. How does the tournament leverage social media to promote participation and build community excitement? In recent years, Rongjiang County in Guizhou Province has developed its new media digital economy. In the last two years, 12,800 locals were trained as new media digital economy practitioners, referred to as village spokespersons. This group has emerged as the driving force for promoting and publicising "Cun Chao”. Combined with the local residents' deep passion for football, sports, and their own ethnic culture, the people of Rongjiang have shown a high level of enthusiasm, and "Cun Chao" has become a football super IP collectively crafted by the entire county's population, working together to build and engage in the initiative. 4. What sets the Village Football marketing approach apart from other grassroots sports events in China, creating a distinctive brand identity and fostering long-term community engagement? The Village Super League spreads "authenticity" and outputs culture, we can see football culture, food culture, non-heritage culture, ethnic culture, etc. Regarding marketing, the biggest difference from other grassroots sports events is the spontaneous participation of all the people. The people of Rongjiang love football, love their ethnic culture, and love their hometown even more. During the Village Super Match, 39,000 people and 145 performers came to the Village Super Stadium to perform their own ethnic culture, and they became the main force in creating the content. The Village Super League is the people's own event, and the people of Rongjiang County have found their own place in the Village Super Match. 5. Can you talk about your partnership with the English Premier League and what that includes? The Village Super League and the Premier League officially signed a partnership in Beijing in September this year. I think it’s a significant step, as the Village Super League originated in rural China and is in line with the origin of community football. Its popularity in China presents a great opportunity for Premiere League to leverage the immense online traffic and elevate its visibility. As a well-established professional league, the Premier League has a wealth of experience to offer to the Village Super League, which can greatly contribute to the future development of the Village Super League. I am confident that such a collaboration would bring mutual benefits and create a win-win situation. Representatives from the Premier League have recently visited Rongjiang County to engage in discussions regarding specific areas of cooperation, and significant progress has been made in all aspects of dialogue.

6. What can we expect to see from Village Football in 2024 and beyond? - Enhanced Tournament Influence - Next year, we will inaugurate the Belt and Road Friendship Tournament, aiming to extend the influence and impact of the Village Super League. Our objective is to share the joy of the tournament with a broader global audience. We invite football enthusiasts from all over the world to visit Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province, and experience the distinctive style of football offered by the Village Super League. If you are interested in forming a team and participating in the tournament, we encourage you to reach out and engage in communication with us. - Expanded Variety of Matches - Next year, we have prepared an array of exciting matches that go beyond the traditional format. In addition to the existing matches, we will introduce women's football and youth games, catering to a wider range of participants. These additions will provide opportunities for different age groups and genders to showcase their skills and contribute to the growth of the Village Super League.


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