• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 25th September

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


Here’s what’s been making the headlines this week: NBA opens on Kuaishou, WWE agrees media rights deal with iQiyi Sports, President Xi eyes further sports sector development, NHL launches ecommerce with livestream, MLB initiates original fashion & lifestyle content series, China Media Group secures Beijing 2022 partnership, Yili activates Winter Olympics campaign, NFL provides perfect Tencent offering, esports teams produce LoL Worlds jerseys.


Top Industry News

1) NBA Opens on Kuaishou

The popular short video platform taking China by storm has 450M monthly active users, while followings of basketball-related accounts have reached over 100M. The NBA officially launched its Kuaishou account with a video - a 72-second montage of clips - featuring funny player moments, basketball style and fashion, and grassroots basketball stories. The hashtag #NBA launches on Kuaishou# ranked top of the trending topic page during its peak, and together with the launch video, NBA posted three videos of the ‘For Basketball’ series - a documentary covering grassroots basketball development in China. Check out the account here Mailman Take: A powerful new platform currently under utilised by global sports. Kuaishou’s fast-growing user base in tier 2 and 3 cities, plus its strong focus on live commerce, provides the NBA with a brand new revenue opportunity. This is what differentiates Kuaishou from Douyin. 2) WWE Agrees Media Rights Deal with iQiyi Sports As part of the deal, iQiyi Sports will show WWE’s flagship weekly programmes and monthly pay-per-view events. WWE already has a media rights partner in the region in PP Sports, however this deal was renegotiated following the impact from COVID-19, allowing for iQiyi Sports to enter the fray and host content. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Jiemian (Chinese)

Mailman Take: This looks like a smart play as long term broadcast deals are getting re-negotiated across the board. WWE have held onto their long-term partner while at the same time carving out new short-form rights to sell elsewhere. We expect these rights deals to grow significantly in value over the next 12 months as consumer demand for highlights, near-live clips and original content booms.

3) President Xi Jinping Stresses Development for Sports Sector 

The Chinese President met with experts to discuss developments in education, culture, healthcare and sports as part of the “fourteenth five year plan”. Xi pointed out the current trend and need to focus on the domestic sports industry, including promoting sports in school, exploring developing paths of football, basketball, volleyball and winter sports, while revolutionising the sports market with utilising experience gained from international markets. Read more on CCTV (English) China Sport Gov (Chinese) 4) NHL Launches First Ecommerce Livestream The world’s premier hockey league launched an exclusive t-shirt in China, marking its first-ever official product sold to it Chinese fans on WeChat and Douyin. Livestreamed across two platforms, the NHL rewarded its community with a specially designed shirt, reaching over 1M+ views in the process. Watch the Weibo livestream (Chinese)

5) Major League Baseball Launches Original Content Series In-Style 

MLB China’s new original content series ‘MLB In-Style’ sees the league partner up with fashion company TrendsHealth & popular actor Kiku Ju. The first episode focuses on the fashion & lifestyle side of baseball in an effort to expand its reach to the younger generation. Watch the episode here (Chinese)

6) Beijing 2022 Teams Up with China Media Group The cooperation between the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) and state media company China Media Group (CMG) includes the development of a communications and cooperation mechanism between the two parties to enhance BOCOG’s broadcast plans for the Games. CMG will utilise 5G, 4K, 8K and AI technology to aid the production of Olympics content. CMG was formed in 2018 as part of a merger between state broadcaster CCTV, China National Radio and China Radio International. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Huanqiu (Chinese)


7) Yili Promotes Winter Olympic Campaign

On the 500-day countdown to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,  Chinese dairy product producer Yili launched its “Winter Olympic Mobilisation Plan” campaign which promises to support China’s National Teams as part of its corporate social responsibility. A top-level sponsor of China’s National Teams, Yili will provide nutrient support for six teams ranging from daily life, training, and competition, and also provide customized products for those with special needs. Read more on Zaker (English) 8) Man City Agree Two-Year Partnership with Douyin The English football club has become the latest sports organisation to agree a partnership with ByteDance-owned Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok), which will see the club commit to more content on the short form video platform. Read more on SportsPro (English) and SportsMoney (Chinese) In Other News

NBA & China Cooperation Is Positive for United States - Adam Silver According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA's long-standing engagement in China continues to have a "net positive" impact on the mutual understanding between the United States and China. Read more on Yahoo (English) and Netease (Chinese) Blogs NFL's Tencent Model Gives China Fans the Perfect Offering The National Football League recently launched its first-ever subscription service in China on Tencent. This offering has found the sweet spot with fans in China. Our business director Michael Lin explains why in his Blog Esports News Jerseys Launched Ahead of LoL Worlds in Shanghai To celebrate qualification for the League of Legends (Worlds) World Cup, a number of teams released limited edition jerseys designed specifically for the competition. These include dragon patterns on most of Worlds 2020 kits as a symbol of power and strength as a nod to the competition being held in Shanghai next month. Read more on EsportsPlus (English) and Netease (Chinese)

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