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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly 27th October


Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: LFP partners with CMG, new CFA chief wants transparency, China’s outdoor sports industry eyes growth, Temu catches up with Shein, NBA is first-class says Yao, Hennessy & basketball get artsy in Shanghai, equestrian event provides a sporting feast, and all the latest esports news. 🎤 In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Michael A. Luévano - Executive Director International Division - Juss Event, Tournament Director-Rolex Shanghai Masters, about the recent Rolex Shanghai Masters, what it was like to be back after four years, China’s young crop of talent, challenges faced, and improvements for next year.


 

🗞️ Top Industry News LFP Partners with CMG CMG (China Media Group) and the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Paris. The cooperation outlines their mutual intention to organise events, enhance industry exchanges, produce original content, and develop youth football. With China and France celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties, both parties are eager to deepen collaboration. The French league hopes to leverage CMG-owned CCTV and its platform to expand its presence in China and introduce Chinese fans to the allure of French football and stars Read more on Ecosports (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: CCTV has taken its foot off the gas in recent years when it comes to European football to put all its focus on the recent Summer and Winter Olympics Games and World Cups. The only nationwide traditional sports channel in China now looks to be shifting some attention back to domestic football. Next year’s Paris 2024 will undoubtedly be a key event for CCTV, so this bridge builder makes sense in the strengthening of 60 years of diplomatic ties and bringing more French sports action to China’s households.


New CFA President Pledges "Transparent and Courageous" Governing Body New Chinese Football Association (CFA) President Song Kai pledged that the organisation will be "more transparent" following a series of corruption scandals. Song was elected in the wake of the arrest of former CFA vice-president Du Zhaocai earlier this month on charges of bribery. Read more on Inside The Games (English) China's Outdoor Sports Industry Set to Climb China is stepping up efforts to promote the development of the outdoor sports sector and boost relevant consumption, the National Development and Reform Commission stated. The outdoor sports industry in China is expected to reach a total market value of $410.6bn by the end of 2025, through expanded construction of outdoor facilities, enhanced services and improved consumption vitality. Read more on China Daily (English) and Chinanews (Chinese) Temu Has Caught Up With Rival Shein in Single-Month Sales in the US The discount e-commerce platform has already expanded its presence to 47 countries worldwide since it launched in the US last September and has consistently taken the top spot in the Apple App Store and Google Play download charts. LatePost quoted an advertising agency representative who noted that Temu spent more than $300m on advertising this August. Read more on TechNode (English) and Tencent (Chinese) NBA 'First Class' in China Despite Past Conflicts, Yao Ming Says Yao travelled to New York for the first time in nearly four years as part of a 30-person Chinese delegation and met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver at a time when international participation in the league is at an all-time high. Read more on ESPN (English) Hennessy Scores with Art-inspired Basketball Court in Shanghai The world-renowned spirits brand has marked its footprint in Shanghai’s cultural scene with the introduction of “Hennessy In The Paint”, a global initiative that merges the realms of art and basketball. This endeavour was highlighted through a collaboration with Filipino-American visual artist Jayson Atienza, whose distinctive artistic touches can be seen across the newly established court. Read more on DAO (English) and Baijiahao (Chinese) Village Basketball Competition Finals Commence in SW China's Guizhou Finals of the Village Basketball Competition of China, known as "CunBA," tipped off on Wednesday in Taipan Village, Taijiang County of southwest China's Guizhou Province. Eight teams nationwide will compete in 16 matches across four days. According to the latest rules released by the organising committee, players, public officials or students who have registered in the CBA, NBL and Chinese 3x3 Basketball leagues are not allowed to participate in the finals. Read more on Shine (English) and Chinanews (Chinese) Equestrian Event Provides a Sporting Feast The 10th edition of the Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters was held recently at the iconic Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing. Eleven top-notch equestrians from around the world, accompanied by elite steeds, came together at the National Stadium for a spectacular competition, delivering a high-caliber sporting feast for horse enthusiasts. Read more on China Daily (English)

 

🤔 Opinion Despite Setbacks, Optimism Remains for F1’s Future in APAC In advance of the Singapore Grand Prix last month, news coverage surrounding the event was consumed by increased prices, a political cloud hanging over the race and a season that perhaps hasn’t delivered the same thrills and spills of years gone by. Would this year’s race live up to its usual hype? Would the region and world travel into town as it always does? Would Singapore continue to be a jewel in the F1 crown? Of course, it did. Read more on SportBusiness (English)

 

🎮 Esports MSI 2024 Reportedly Returning to China for First Time Since 2016 The event is reportedly being hosted in Chengdu, and will be the first time in eight years that MSI will be hosted in the country, according to reports by Korean news outlet Naver. Back when MSI was hosted by China in 2016, it was hosted in Shanghai, where Faker and the ever-dominant SK Telecom T1 took home yet another piece of hardware for their trophy case. Read more on Dotesports (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

 

From The Top 🎤 Michael A. Luévano, Executive Director International Division - Juss Event, Tournament Director-Rolex Shanghai Masters 1. After a four-year hiatus, how did it feel to finally have the Rolex Shanghai Masters (RSM) back? To return the Rolex Shanghai Masters is a feeling that is quite indescribable. Although it sounds cliché, you never realise you miss something until it’s taken away from you. This year’s event, I think, goes down in history as my most memorable of all the tournaments in my 29-year career as a tournament director. I am so proud of the entire Juss Event Team on the amazing fortitude that was on display in the past 4 years, and beaming with pride on the success of this year’s project. 2. A considerable tournament revamp and increased number of players, how was the new-look RSM received by fans and players? The tournament renovations will be in three phases. This year’s event covered phase one. The Juss Sports Group earmarked over 30 Million RMB for all player zones and fan activation areas. It has been received with enormously positive feedback from the ATP Tour, ATP Players, and our fans and spectators. Roger Federer told me that he could hardly recognize the place and was thrilled with the new look. Our phase two renovations will begin shortly and will focus on fan dining building and VIP Hospitality, outdoor lighting, and renovation of our indoor match court facilities, and possibly a new permanent entrance way. 3. The RSM capped-off a huge tennis season in China. What’s your current thoughts on China’s growing crop of young talent and how popular is the sport now compared to pre-Covid times? It has been an incredible journey for me since my arrival in Hong Kong in 1993 to finally reach a point where two Chinese players are in the Top 100s and can threaten the top tier players on the ATP Tour. I can recall, the dozens and dozens of the same question, “when will we have a Chinese male star” and now, is a reality. Zhang Zhizhen, Wu Yibing, Bu Yunchaokete, and the young Jerry Shang, are all making impressive headways on the men’s tour. But what is most encouraging is the commitment from companies such as Juss Sports taking a lead in developing a Chinese tennis ecosystem. This ecosystem supports high-level ITF junior tournaments in conjunction with the CTA (Chinese Tennis Association). 4. What were your biggest challenges going into this year’s tournament and how did you overcome them? I think the biggest challenge for us this year was taking on an expanded two-week, twelve-day masters event, after being untested for the last four years. We were very uneasy about how our fans would react over such a long period of tennis, and also how the players (half of which have never even been to China) would respond to the Rolex Shanghai Masters. In the end, I believe good things happen to good people, and we are relishing our multiple successes across the board at this year’s successful completion of the RSM. 5. What are your biggest takeaways from this year’s RSM and how do you plan to take those into next year’s tournament? Of course there are many things that need to be fine-tuned moving into 2024. I believe we can do a better job in our second week in terms of ticket sales and creating the opportunity for attracting new tennis fans to the RSM. I also think we can improve our broadcast quality and quantity across China, and hopefully, we can count on the return of Novak and possibly Rafa. The dream continues…


 

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