• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 21st August

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

Here’s what’s been making the headlines this week: CSL allows fans back into stadiums, FIBA signs East Asia Super League partnership, LD Sports looks for early Southampton exit, Esports event plays out in front of 2K fans, Beijing stadium undergoes renovation ahead of expected WC bid, Bilibili shares LoL media rights.

Top Industry News

1) CSL to Allow Select Fans Back into Stadium The Chinese Super League (CSL) will allow a very limited number of spectators into a high-profile match on this weekend, the first time fans can attend a game since the COVID-19 outbreak. Football officials & Suzhou authorities are aiming to allow 500 fans from Shanghai SIPG and 500 from Beijing Guoan for the match up in Suzhou this Saturday. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Tencent (Chinese) 2) FIBA and East Asia Super League Enter Multi-Year Partnership

The ten-year agreement grants the East Asia Super League (EASL) FIBA Asia’s recognition and support to run an annual league for the top professional clubs in East Asia and the Philippines. EASL will launch its new competition in October 2021, a month after the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Read more on FIBA (English) and FIBA (Chinese) 3) LD Sports Set to Part Ways with Southampton FC Two Years Early Not the most surprising hiccup in this partnership that started with more questions than answers. Even to this day, there remains uncertainty around LD Sports, what they do, who they work with, how they are funded. The £22.5M, three-year contract signed last May has reportedly ended and leaves the EPL club seeking a new front of shirt sponsor. Read more on SportsPro (English) 4) Honor of Kings Staged In Front of First Post-COVID Live Esports Audience in China A positive sign for the events industry as the popular tournament was held in Beijing in front of an audience of 2K, in a stadium with a capacity of 19K. The conditions to enter the stadium were strict: identity card, health book, temperature control, masks and social distancing. Read more on SCMP (English) and CNR (Chinese) 5) Yan Xiaonan on UFC 253 Main Card The Chinese strawweight will compete against Claudia Gadelha as part of the Main Card for UFC253 on September 26. Xiaonan is on a five-fight winning streak in the UFC, with her last victory taking place in New Zealand in February against former UFC strawweight title challenger, Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Read more on MMA Mania (English) and Tencent (Chinese)


6) BMG Partners with Berlin Football Association in China Borussia Mönchengladbach (BMG) and Berlin Football Association (BFA), a regional association of the German Football Association (DFB), exclusively joined forces regarding their coach education offerings in China. Both the club and the FA have been successfully conducting sophisticated coaching education programs for several years in China and have contributed to the development of Chinese football coaches and PE teachers. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese) 7) Dream 11 Takes on Vivo Sponsorship for IPL The fantasy gaming platform has acquired the title sponsorship of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) with the contract set to end December 31. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) needed a new title sponsor after Chinese smartphone brand Vivo suspended the contract. Dream 11 has Chinese connections with an investment of $100M from Tencent, which is known to be the biggest investor in Dream 11. The deal is reportedly worth half of the $59M-per-year deal Vivo was paying. Read more on Hindustan Times (English) 8) China Badminton League Restarts The 2020 China Badminton Super League will run from August 27 to September 14 in Chengdu. Eight clubs will participate in the mixed team league that will be run in a knockout competition format. All games will be played in empty arenas, with all players, coaches and other staff required to take COVID-19 tests before the tournament. Read more on Xinhua (English) and cba.org (Chinese) 9) Beijing Stadium Demolished Ahead of Expected World Cup Bid The famous Workers' Stadium in Beijing was quickly torn down as part of China’s plans to revamp its football infrastructure ahead of an expected bid for the FIFA World Cup. The stadium will be rebuilt and is scheduled for completion in December 2022. The Workers' Stadium was built in 1959 as one of 10 major construction projects to mark the 10th anniversary of communist China. Read more on Yahoo! (English) and Ecosports (Chinese) 10) Wu Lei Opts for RCD Espanyol Stay La Liga's RCD Espanyol has extended its contract with China’s top striker Wu Lei to June 2024. The renewal of the contract came as no big surprise as Wu said last month that he will stay at Espanyol despite the team being relegated to the Segunda Division. Read more on CGTN (English) and Sina (Chinese) 11) Extreme E Lands Toutiao Content Deal The all-electric racing series signed a content partnership with Bytedance-owned Chinese news platform Toutiao to give the series prominence on the platform, in the world’s biggest electric vehicle market. Read more on SportsPro (English) In Other News Wuhan Hosts Water Music Festival Thousands packed together and enjoyed the first major music festival in the city for a long time. The Chinese city where COVID-19 first emerged is now deemed a safe place for crowds to gather and a stark contrast from scenes back in February. Read more on BBC (English) and Sina (Chinese) Opinion Global Brands Need a Hyper-Local Lens in APAC for Effective Video Strategy Each Asia-Pacific market is characterised by a distinctive culture, society and level of technology adoption which have developed into a number of emerging digital trends, that also encompasses videos. Understanding how to apply them to an international marketing strategy determines the efficiency of a brand's ability to communicate and generate engagement across the region. The analysis focuses on four video trends that are growing in popularity across specific Asia-Pacific markets, each of which present opportunities for global sports marketers and brands. Read the Opinion Piece on Warc (English) Esports News Bilibili Shares 2020 LoL Worlds Chinese Media Rights With Penguin Esports, DouYu, and Huya As the exclusive broadcast rights holder of the LoL Worlds in China, Bilibili has sub-licensed the rights to the three twitch-like companies, who will live stream the 2020 Worlds on their respective platforms. It was reported in December 2019 that Bilibili paid $115M for the three-year Worlds media rights in China. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

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