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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 22nd November


There’s just ONE WEEK left to get your submissions in for the Red Card 2020: China Digital Football Awards.

This year, we have 10 expert judges from China’s leading sports broadcasters, media platforms, agencies, and sports media. The judges will be looking for originality, relevance, and objective & results in all submissions.

For more information on how to submit, click for English & Chinese.

The final deadline is November 30th at 11:59pm.

Top Industry Stories:

1) Juventus Extends Linglong Tyre Deal Italian Serie A football club Juventus agreed a three-year extension to its deal with Chinese tyre manufacturer Linglong. Having signed the original partnership in February 2018, Linglong will continue to serve as the club’s official global tyre partner until 2022. Read more on Juventus (English)

Mailman Take: an important extension for the Italian club to grow their reach and relevance further in this market. It will be interesting to see how they activate this partnership and deliver value for their fans and the tyre manufacturer.

2) Supreme Court Introduces New Laws China’s Supreme People’s Court introduced criminal punishments for a range of sports doping-related activities, which include the production, trafficking and sale of banned substances; and forcing, organising, luring or cheating minors or those with disabilities into using performance-enhancing drugs. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

3) ACB Partners with Chinese Investment Firm The ACB, the organiser of the top Spanish basketball league, has partnered with a Chinese investment firm to develop its product in China, including the management of media rights. Ningbo Weilburg Tianshan Investment Management will work with the ACB to promote and grow basketball in China where it is already one of the most popular team sports. Read more on Sportcal (English)

4) Chengdu Airlines Sponsors ITTF World Men’s Cup The International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) Men’s World Cup, which takes place in the Chengu from November 29 to December 1, sees Chengdu Airline gain category exclusivity during the tournament. This year will mark the first time that the Men’s World Cup has been held in Chengdu, with the city recently holding the Women’s World Cup. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and ITTF (Chinese)

5) Douyu Acquires WESG Rights Douyu has acquired the Chinese live streaming rights for Alibaba Sports’ World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) 2019-2020 season. Chinese video platform Youku will also broadcast as the company is owned by Alibaba Group. As a part of the deal, Alibaba Sports and Douyu will co-host the WESG Douyu online qualifier between Nov. 25 – Dec. 3, which will send winning teams and players to the WESG China Qualifier. Read more on Esports Observer (English)

6) Salary Cap Destined for Chinese Clubs The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has instructed clubs to freeze player contract talks as it prepares to introduce new regulations, including a salary cap, next month. The regulations are being introduced to address and prevent financial problems at clubs. Read more on SportBusiness (English)


In Other News

ByteDance Now Second-largest Digital Ad Player in China The technology company has overtaken Baidu to become China’s second-largest digital ad player, accounting for $7.1b of all digital media spend in the country in the first half of 2019. The owner of Douyin/Tik Tok, which is facing pressure in the US over censorship concerns, achieved 113 percent growth in ad revenue in the first half compared to the same period last year, according to the China Media Inflation Trend Report 2020 conducted by consultancy R3. Read more on SCMP (English)

Mailman Take: This leaves Bytedance sitting pretty in 2nd having leapfrogged Tencent and Baidu, with only Alibaba in their way. One of a small number of Chinese tech companies to really crack the international market, however concerns still remain outside of China regarding censorship and privacy. That said, TikTok has around 1 billion monthly active users, similar to Instagram.

My From the Top interview is with Zhou Tianyi, Director of Operations at Weibo Sports. Zhou Tianyi is also a judge of the Red Card 2020: China Digital Football Awards, and having been a judge last year, we discuss what it takes to win a Red Card award, what stands out in a submission, and about how sports IP can work with Weibo.

From the Top

1. What do you look for in a Red Card awards submission?

What I focus on most is whether the submission plays a key role in improving China’s sports industry chain, and the size and engagement of the users involved in the submissions.

2. Which Red Card category are you most interested in seeing submissions for and why? I’m most interested in the awards related to the football clubs. Since most top clubs, at home and abroad, have all been very successful on social media and managed their accounts positively, I really hope to see new changes and new development models being implemented and executed.

3. When you listen to fans, what's the most important feedback they give in relation to the content international sports IP produce on social? At the moment, feedback is that the quality of content from some international IP is not consistent. Listening to the consumers’ demands, the sports IP need to focus more on delivering content with a quick turnaround and adding extra layers of content.

4. What have been the most noticeable improvements from a sports IP in their content in 2019? They are all paying more attention to their fans’ comments and putting more emphasis on their suggestions. This is encouraging the IP to produce more high level and original content in order to meet the demands of Chinese users.

5. What is the most valuable football content in the eyes of Weibo Sports? We still see live competitions & matches, highlights, and other content which encourages fan engagement as the most valuable content.

6. How will sports IP be able to monetise their content on Weibo in the future and what do they need to do to get there? Together with Weibo, entering the market through a commercialisation model allows for more collaborative opportunities. For example, content integration, interactive activities online and offline, gaining benefits through monetisation tools on Weibo such as V+, advertisement sharing plans, and micro endorsements.

In order to achieve this, they should build their catalogue of social media assets, and promote the accounts utilising the matrix method and classifying users, in order to increase the influence.


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Mailman is a global sports digital agency and consultancy. We help global rights holders, athletes and brands build a successful business across China, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Learn more about our story here.

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