• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 2nd July


Here’s the latest news and insights from a busy seven days in China.


📰 Headlines: Beijing Hockey Association and NHL deliver masterclass, Nike remains bullish on China, domestic brands capitalise on home advantage, Endeavor China announces new CEO, CSL confirms return, Didi hails IPO.


🗣️ In this week’s From The Top, Xing He, Deputy Secretary-General of Beijing Ice Hockey Association, talks about collaborating with the NHL, the importance of ball hockey, the Winter Olympics impact, and how to ensure a successful future for the sport.

🗞️ Top Industry News

Beijing Hockey Association and NHL Deliver Ball Hockey Masterclass Directed at local primary and secondary school PE teachers in Beijing, as well as hockey enthusiasts, the ball hockey program is divided into two parts: an online course and in-person training, with the purpose of growing the sport in the region while providing valuable fitness and educational benefits. Read more on Beijing Daily (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: An online curriculum to educate teachers is a scalable approach that can be replicated across multiple districts. Subjects in schools are predominantly traditional, with less attention paid to sports and PE. The NHL's tie-up with the BHA and Beijing school districts is a smart move to ensure hockey reaches greater numbers of teachers, and therefore more children.


Nike Shares Surge Despite China Drop Company shares rose 15% to a record high following a forecast full-year sales of more than $50B, while fourth-quarter revenue nearly topped $12B for the first time, overshadowing a weaker-than-anticipated China market. Analysts predict a rebound as company executives stated June’s China sales trends were already reaching 2020 levels. Read more on Reuters (English) and Tencent (Chinese)

💡 Nike CEO Take: "We're confident about what we're seeing in China... We've been in China for over 40 years ... And today, we're the largest sport brand there. We're a brand of China and for China.” 💡 Mailman Take: 40+ years operating in China doesn’t disappear in a matter of months. The brand remains strong and ingrained in the culture of millions, particularly sports fans. Nike is everywhere in China. Domestic Sports Brands See Market Value Soar Shares of popular local brand Anta reached $65B, closing in on Adidas ($72B), while other domestic sports brands like Li Ning, X-Steps and 361 degrees all increased significantly in market value. Read more on China Daily (English) and Sports Money (Chinese)

Endeavor China Appoints Sum Huang As CEO As the company widens its reach across China and Asia Pacific, Endeavor subsidiary Endeavor China has appointed media and entertainment executive Sum Huang as CEO. Read more on Deadline (English) and China Daily (Chinese)


CSL Eyes Mid-July Return Rounds 6-14 will take place between July 12 and August 17, before pausing for a second time to give the Chinese national team time to prepare for the third round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying, set to start on September 2. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Wenhui Daily (Chinese)

Anta Presents Olympics High-Tech Podium Uniform The Chinese sportswear brand released Team China's podium uniform for the Tokyo Olympics, called 'Champion Dragon Clothes'. The uniform is designed by Tim Yip, also known as Ye Jintian, the renowned art director, visual artist and Oscar winner for best art design. Read more on Asia One (English) and Jiemian (Chinese)

WTA Cancels Asian Swing Cancelled for a second successive year, due to the COVID-19, only the WTA Finals are yet to be decided. The tournaments cannot be held due to travel restrictions in China and Japan, the WTA said, adding that it was working to relocate the events. "We are disappointed that our world-class events in China and Japan will not take place this year," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. Read more on Reuters (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

🎮 Esports League of Legends Esports Manager Receives Approval in China Riot Games’ League of Legends Esports Manager mobile game received game approval from China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), alongside 43 other games. The Chinese version of the game will feature all League of Legends Pro League (LPL) teams, players, and staff, and the player will represent the “team manager” to build their team. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Sohu (Chinese)

Opinion Playing keepy-uppy: APAC sponsors of EURO 2020 find relevance through digital innovation Streaming, social media and mobile have dominated the pitch for sports sponsors but with EURO 2020 returning to our screens after a year of digital transformation, the time is now for brands to stay connected. With a huge football fanbase in Asia, The Drum spoke to experts about how sponsors can get the best value from international sporting events. Read here in English


Chinese flock to home-grown brands in golden opportunity for investors During JD.com's online shopping festival this month, sales growth of Chinese brands was 4% higher than international brands. The growth in their customer numbers exceeded that of international brands by 16%, JD.com said. Read more on Reuters (English)

🗞️ Other News Didi’s Global Ambitions Follow $4.4B IPO Following the biggest US share offering by a Chinese company since Alibaba in 2014, China's leading ride-hailing service finished its first day of trading 1% above its initial public offering price. Didi raised $4.4B from the stock sale, and at Wednesday's closing price, Didi was valued at nearly $70B. Read more on CNN (English) and Sina (Chinese)


📢 From The Top 🗣️ Xing He, Deputy Secretary-General of Beijing Ice Hockey Association


1. Can you talk about Beijing Ice Hockey Associations' recent offline event in collaboration with the NHL?

The current main cooperation between the Beijing Ice Hockey Association and NHL is the ball hockey program. At present, ice hockey is still in the process of popularisation in Beijing, and access to facilities remains a limitation.


Regarding the characteristics of ball hockey, such as low reliance on professional facilities, the ease to play on school campuses, and ease for children to get started, we hope to popularise the sport of ice hockey on campuses through the NHL’s ball hockey program.


For schools that already have ice hockey teams, ball hockey can be used to increase training in schools and reduce the limitation of venues. For schools that haven't set up ice hockey teams, they can cultivate students' interest in ice hockey through ball hockey, set up school teams, learn to skate when conditions permit, and gradually turn into real ice hockey.

On June 29, the Association and NHL jointly held the 2021 Ball Hockey Coach Training, which is mainly for primary and secondary school PE teachers in Beijing, and also accepted the registration of other ball hockey enthusiasts, aiming to introduce ball ice hockey into primary and secondary schools in Beijing. More than 50 teachers from 23 schools in Beijing, and more than 40 ball hockey enthusiasts, signed up.


2. How has the Beijing Ice Hockey Association been helping to grow the sport of hockey in China?

Under the strong support and guidance of the Beijing Municipal Government, Beijing Sports Bureau and other units, the Beijing Ice Hockey Association is committed to building a market-oriented and player-interest development model.


At the same time, we attach great importance to encouraging athletes to learn from each other in competitions. We founded the Beijing Youth Ice Hockey Club League and the Beijing Primary and Secondary School Ice Hockey League.


In the 2020-2021 season, there were 3,127 participants in the Beijing Youth Ice Hockey Club League, with 890 games and a total of 16 competition weeks. It is the longest and largest youth ice hockey event in Asia. There are 1,730 participants in the inter-school ice hockey league for primary and secondary school students in Beijing, with 319 matches and 119 participating schools.


In 2021, among the North sports teams that won the national men's ice hockey championship and played on behalf of Beijing, there were many outstanding athletes who came out of Beijing’s youth ice hockey arena.


3. How important will the Beijing Olympics be for the growth of ice hockey in China?


The Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 has already played a significant role in promoting the development and popularisation of ice hockey in China. The hosting of the Winter Olympics will greatly enhance people's attention to ice and snow sports, including ice hockey, so that people can know and understand ice hockey, a previously very small sport in China, and feel the charm of this sport. At the same time, we also look forward to more and more Chinese people joining this sport under the impetus of the Winter Olympics, so that ice hockey culture can take root in China.


4. What are the biggest challenges growing ice hockey in China?

In the work that our association has experienced in recent years, the biggest difficulty we have encountered is that the public has a very limited understanding of ice hockey.

On the one hand, due to the limitation of venues, ice hockey is not as easy to carry out as football and basketball, and people outside the three northeastern provinces have less contact with it in their lives. On the other hand, due to the limited number of times that Chinese ice hockey has achieved outstanding results in international competitions, there are fewer opportunities to get mass media coverage. For these two reasons, the development of ice hockey in China is limited to a small number of people related to it, such as athletes, coaches, etc, instead of going out of the circle and integrating into the lives of ordinary people.

However, we can also see that this problem is gradually improving with the high attention, market-oriented operation and the promotion of ball hockey. But on the whole, there is still a long way to go to popularise ice hockey in China.


5. What is currently being done around the Beijing communities to ensure the future of ice hockey in China is successful?

Through more than ten years' efforts, Beijing ice hockey has gradually developed into a new development model with Beijing characteristics. If this model can be used for reference by other cities and help the local ice hockey development, it will be very beneficial to drive the overall development of Chinese ice hockey. We are also very willing to do our best to contribute to the development and progress of Chinese ice hockey.

Subscribe here to keep up-to-date with all the latest sports business news from China.

Headquartered in Shanghai, China, Mailman is a global sports digital consultancy and agency. We help the world’s leading sports organisations serve their audiences and build their businesses. With over 200 experts across China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US, we specialise in digital strategy, transformation, social media, content production and eCommerce. Learn more about our story here.

Recent Posts

See All