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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 28th January

Hello Industry Friends, from everyone at Mailman, we wish you a Happy New Chinese Year of the Tiger!

📰 Headlines: China Sports Media distributes FIFA Club World Cup rights, Kuaishou gears up for Beijing 2022, NBA initiates CSR campaign ahead of CNY, China hires overseas influencers, WTT bring on baijiu brand, 8 China digital predictions for 2022, and an online spring clean by the Chinese government.

🗣 In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Eric Genghui, Senior Director, China Sports Media, about a new era of distributing media rights in China, a more realistic landscape compared to pre-COVID-19, the future of rights fees, how short video platforms will look to enter to live rights competition, and what’s China Sports Media’s main focus for 2022.


🗞️ Top Industry News CSM Distributes FIFA Club World Cup Rights Chinese streaming platforms Migu, Youku and Dongqiudi have all landed non-exclusive digital media rights for the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup taking place in UAE. Deals for all three platforms were brokered by China Sports Media (CSM), whose own streaming platform K-ball will also carry coverage of the tournament. CSM distributed the rights after acquiring them from Dentsu. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Ecosports (Chinese) Kuaishou Gears Up for Beijing Winter Olympics As the official short video partner of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Kuaishou has already initiated plenty of Winter Olympics content and online campaigns. Kuaishou has built a comprehensive Winter Olympics digital experience for fans, including the events, fan content creation, and interactive activities. Additionally, Kuaishou will produce Winter Olympics-related content throughout. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese). NBA Initiates CSR Campaign Ahead of CNY

NBA Cares, the league's corporate social responsibility arm, has carried out its 11th Chinese New Year celebration. NBA Cares visited rural areas in Chongqing and Hainan with professional basketball trainers from NBA China to hold youth training camps, community games, and CNY celebration festivals. In addition to the offline charity initiatives, NBA Cares also donated sports equipment to 11 countryside schools for the purpose of assisting rural education. Read more on Sina (Chinese).

China Hires Overseas Influencers to Boost Olympics Image New Jersey-based Vippi Media has agreed to a $300K deal with the Chinese consulate general in New York to organise a social media campaign that promotes positive messaging about China and the Beijing Winter Olympics on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch. The agreement runs from last November until March 2022, when the Winter Paralympics ends. Read more on Business Insider (English) and Global Times (Chinese)

WTT Signs Global Baijiu Brand Deal The global premier partnership between World Table Tennis (WTT) and Chinese baijiu brand Shuijingfang will see the brand receive premium visibility at WTT events and support its hospitality services. Shuijingfang also becomes the official baijiu provider of WTT. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and (Chinese)

Xi Meets Bach Ahead of Winter Olympics China’s president welcomed the President of the IOC Thomas Bach to China, while Bach praised Xi for China's "efficiency, determination and vigour" in preparing for the Games. They talked about COVID-19 countermeasures at the Games and Bach told Xi that "China is now a winter sports country, and this is the start of a new era for global winter sports.” Read more on Reuters (English) and Xinhua (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion

Eight China Digital Predictions for 2022

From virtual idols to digital currency to regulation of social media and data, our experts at Mailman and Endeavor China have predicted trends that will impact China this year. Read our predictions on Campaign Asia (English)


🗞️ Other news

Modern Sky Launches Virtual Musician Amid Metaverse Hype Leading Chinese record label Modern Sky announced plans to accelerate its virtual businesses this year as the metaverse mania gains momentum in the country and elsewhere. Modern Sky will also launch a virtual version of its famous Strawberry Music Festival featuring virtual artists this year. Read more on China Film Insider (English) and Jiemian (Chinese) Online Spring Cleaning Ahead of CNY China is launching a spring clean-up of online content to ensure a “clean and lively” internet during the upcoming lunar new year festival. The Cyberspace Administration of China has instructed officials to close down internet platforms and accounts and sweep away “illegal content and information”, targeting five areas: celebrity fan groups, online abuse, money worship, child influencers and media sites’ homepages. Read more on FT (English) and People’s Daily (Chinese) WeChat Users & Platform Insights 2022

WeChat has evolved from an instant messaging app to a service meeting the digital needs of over 1.26B MAUs in Q3 2021. Each day, more than 120M active users post in social networking Moments, 360M users read Official Accounts articles, and 400M users access Mini Programs. Read more on China Internet Watch (English) and Securities Times (Chinese)


📢 From The Top

🗣 Eric Genghui, Senior Director, China Sports Media

1. You’ve successfully distributed media rights deals for the likes of the Bundesliga, Serie A, and the FIFA Club World Cup with Chinese digital broadcasters. What have been the most notable changes and differences distributing these deals compared to a pre-COVID landscape?

Distributing rights on a non-exclusive basis is a major trend now, especially for non-premium content. Digital platforms are paying more attention to ROI. Their acquisition strategies are more based on whether they can make profits or at least break even by acquiring certain properties.

2. Would you say now the current financials being paid for these properties are much more sensible and realistic compared to before, and do you expect fees to rise again in the future?

Definitely. Crazy deals which happened in Chinese during 2015-2019 never happen now. Even though digital platforms and the internet industry are experiencing hard times now, given the size of the Chinese market, I believe the rights fee will rise again in the near future. But we need to be patient, to give more time for platforms to seek the right monetisation path, and probably to wait for the next Chinese superstar like Yao Ming or Li Na to emerge.

3. What’s your take on the short video platforms looking to break into the live media rights space, do you feel they have a good opportunity to bring unique live content or should live rights stay with the streaming platforms?

I think short video and streaming platforms can co-exist. Users’ habits and demographics are different. However, in the short term, streaming platforms are still major players for live content. In the long term, it depends on the development of short video platforms and rights owners’ trials in the coming years.

4. What’s China Sports Media’s main focus for 2022 - is it more of the same in terms of deals or will you be venturing into new areas?

As in the past 17 years, media rights operations will continue to be a key business for China Sports Media. In the past few years, we also provided production services and sold sponsorships in the sports industry. 2022 will be the same, and a better year for us


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