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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 30th April

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

Making headlines this week: Huya lands Chinese League of Legends deal for US$310M, Hisense partners with FIFA World Cup 2022, the Premier League launches on Bilibili, Portuguese FA partners with Weibo ahead of EURO 2020, a blog on the mega-cities vying to become the capital of esports, and Chinese students to have two hours of physical activity per day.

Top Industry News

1. Huya Agrees to Five-Year Deal with TJ Sports for Chinese LoL Competitions The Chinese live streaming platform’s new media rights deal with China’s League of Legends operator TJ Sports gives Huya exclusive broadcasting, video-on-demand, and distribution rights in China to the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), League of Legends Development League (LDL), and LPL All-Star event. The five-year deal (2021-2025) is reported to be around US$310M. In August last year, Bilibili signed an exclusive three-year media rights deal with Riot Games for all International League of Legends competitions, including League of Legends World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star event. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Southern Metropolis Daily (Chinese) Mailman Take: In a market where mainstream sports rights have significantly dropped, esports media rights, particularly the League of Legends, have continued to grow. Intense competition between multiple livestream platforms, including Douyu, Huya and Bilibili, has been part of this increase, but ultimately there is growing confidence in the value of esports rights over mainstream sports.

2. Hisense Partners with FIFA World Cup 2022 The Chinese technology company has partnered with FIFA to become an Official Sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Through the partnership, Hisense will be involved in a programme that will range from on-site engagement opportunities and logo visibility across various platforms to global advertising campaigns. The collaboration, which began in 2017 prior to the FIFA World Cup in Russia, provides Hisense with the opportunity to present specially created, video-on-demand programming to its customers using past FIFA World Cup content, delivered through its integrated VIDAA smart TV platform. Read more on SportsPro (English) and Sports Money (Chinese)

3. The Premier League Launches Official Account on Bilibili The launch of its official channel on the popular video platform Bilibili ties in with the recently launched ePremier League China esports competition. The channel will provide long-form video content for fans, showing the greatest players and games in the history of the Premier League, as well as spectacular moments. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese)

4. NBA to Participate in the China International Consumer Products Expo The maiden version of the China International Consumer Products Expo expects to have the world’s premier basketball league on-site next month. The expo will run from May 7 to 10 in Haikou, in South China's Hainan Province. The NBA earlier participated in the third China International Import Expo in November 2020 in Shanghai. Read more on Global Times (English) and The Paper (Chinese) 5. Portuguese FA Partners with Weibo Ahead of EURO 2020 The Portuguese Football Federation’s strategic partnership with Chinese social media platform Weibo marks the first time a football federation has partnered with the platform. The nation’s fans in China will be provided with new experiences and exclusive original content on Weibo, with a particular focus on this summer’s rescheduled UEFA European Championship. The partnership with Weibo marks Portugal’s latest effort to grow its presence in the country following the launch of Portugal’s official online shop on Alibaba’s Tmall earlier this year. Read more on SportsPro (English) and Sports Money (Chinese) 6. Kuaishou Announces Strategic Cooperation with the China Angling Association As the exclusive broadcast and short video platform, Kuaishou will build an “Ecological Fishing Community“ with the China Angling Association (CAA) and carry out all-round cooperation in the areas of fishing as a sport, fishing culture and the fishing industry. In recent years, fishing became increasingly popular on social platforms such as Kuaishou and Douyin. Read more on (Chinese)

7. Team Marketing Starts China Sales Process for UEFA Club Competitions The Team Marketing agency has initiated the sales processes in China for broadcast rights to UEFA club competitions from 2021-22 to 2023-24. Broadcasters have been handed a 1st-round bid deadline of 10am (CET) on May 17. Read more on SportBusiness (English) Mailman Take: UEFA club competitions unlikely to remain exclusive on the struggling PP Sports. Going non-exclusive across multiple platforms looks like UEFA’s best bet, while short-form platforms Douyin and Kuaishou will be eyeing a slice of these rights. Difficult decisions ahead for UEFA in a rights market declining in value.


JD and TJ Sports Team Up and the Tencent-backed leading Chinese esports operating company, TJ Sports, have formed a partnership to jointly explore the 'e-commerce + esports' model. The two sides announced that JD will be the official partner of the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational 2021 in China. In the next two years, the cooperation will also cover activities promotion, brand establishment, new user recruitment, content development and more. JD and TJ Sports also plan to work together on cultivating esports talent to build a healthy industry ecosystem. Read more on The Esports Observer (English) and Titan (Chinese) Opinion The Mega-Cities Vying to Become Global Capital of Esports Cities around the world are now each asserting their claim on the ‘global esports capital’ title through investments, hosting tournaments, and establishing facilities. In 2021 alone, Shanghai unveiled its new $900M esports centre while Singapore hosted the Mobile Legends' M2 World Championship - one of the world’s top mobile games. Mailman’s esports consultant Hongyu Chen dissects five international megacities with the potential to become the esports capital of the world, post-COVID-19. Read in English and Chinese

Other News

Nine Chinese Companies Make TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential The list is divided into five sections: pioneers, leaders, innovators, titans and disruptors. Alibaba and Tencent are in the titan category, while Huawei and Didi Chuxing are marked as disruptors. Drone technology company DJI, ByteDance‘s short video platform TikTok, automotive manufacturer BYD, tech-focussed Nvidia, and fast-food multinational Yum China are listed as innovators. Read more on TIME (English) Jiemian (Chinese) Hello Inc. Eyes U.S. IPO

Hello Inc. is heading for a public listing in the U.S. with an initial fundraising target of US$100M. The bike-sharing platform, backed by Alibaba’s Ant Group, has submitted a prospectus to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO on Nasdaq. The Shanghai-based startup has been unprofitable for the past three years. Read more on Forbes (English) and (Chinese)

Chinese Students to have Two Hours of Physical Activity Per Day China's Ministry of Education (MOE) has called for appropriate school scheduling to ensure that students at the compulsory education stage engage in one hour of physical activity both during and after school hours every day. The MOE also encouraged the establishment of youth sports clubs where students can make use of their extracurricular time to practice football, basketball, and volleyball, among other sports. Read more on Xinhua (English) and China News (Chinese)


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