• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 30th July



Hello Industry Friends, as Olympics fever sweeps the nation, here’s the very latest news and insights from a busy seven days in China. We’ve also collected the Top 10 most engaged pieces of Olympics content from week one of Tokyo 2020.


📰 Headlines: Evil Geniuses expands China footprint with Wolves partnership & Fosun investment, Erke reaps rewards following Henan donations, BVB extends Würenbacher partnership, NBA and international brands support flood relief, WeChat blocks new registrations.

🗞️ Top Industry News Evil Geniuses Land Wolves Partnership and Fosun Sports Group Investment Fosun-owned Wolves gain branding on Evil Geniuses’ (EG) uniforms, and in return, Wolves’ Chinese team will support EG’s expansion across Asia, including providing EG with local training facilities. EG is the fastest-growing western esports online in China this year, with a total 800K Weibo followers. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Xinhuanet (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: This investment and partnership establishes EG as a dominant esports organisation across North America, Europe, and now Asia. By leveraging unique assets and capabilities from both sides, the organisation will be able to attract fresh talent and combine existing audiences.

Sports Brand Erke Gets Boost Following Flood Relief Donation The struggling Xiamen-based company donated $7.7M to the victims of major floods that have devastated Henan. As a result, tourist locations across China were offering free or discounted tickets to people wearing Erke gear, while the brand’s offline shops saw huge foot traffic as consumers shopped to reward the brand for their donation. Read more on SCMP (English) and Beijing Daily (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: A heartfelt donation by the financially challenged lesser-known local brand which has found itself treading social charts, making media headlines, and winning netizen hearts. The PR value gained alongside the goodwill gesture will stabilise the company and set it up for a more positive future.


BVB Extends Partnership with Würenbacher in China Off the back of another successful virtual summer tour in China, the Bundesliga club has renewed its regional sponsorship deal for China with beer brand Würenbacher. The partnership began in China in 2017, during which time they have run various activities. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and China News Service (Chinese) 💬 Benjamin Wahl, Head of BVB China:In the past 5 years, we’ve had fantastic activations: from TV commercials to full subway branding, official China tour partner status, and welcoming the team together in Shanghai. To add to those, fan journeys to Dortmund with live streams from the stadium, legends events with world champion Roman Weidenfeller in Shanghai, countless fan parties all over China, and always Europe’s top players on the cans and billboards: Starting with Aubameyang, Götze, Pulisic, and Sancho and nowadays Reyna, Reus, and Haaland.”


NBA China Sends Supplies to Henan The first batch of relief materials donated by NBA China, which includes kayaks, water and food, was delivered to Xinxiang in Henan Province, and more relief materials are on the way. Read more on NetEase (Chinese) International Brands Donate to Henan Relief A large number of western brands, including those caught up in the Xinjiang cotton backlash, have offered large-scale donations to those affected by the devastating floods in Henan. Read more on DAO (English) and Sohu (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: A nice touch from all brands who donated to the Henan relief work. Despite a tough few months, this will help a number of international brands start repairing relationships with patriotic Chinese consumers. China Criticizes NBC for Incomplete Map The criticism came after an “incomplete map” of the country was broadcast during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. The map was displayed during the arrival of Chinese athletes and included neither Taiwan nor the South China Sea. Read more on CNBC (English) and Huanqiu.com (Chinese)

🏅Olympics Special: Week 1 We take a look at the Top 10 most engaged pieces of Olympics content in China so far:

  1. Tokyo 2020 opening day warm-up video ft. Jackson Wang: Eng: 45K

  2. China women’s volleyball gold medal moment replay: Eng: 12K

  3. Chinese diving team’s winning moment on 3m springboard: Eng: 10K

  4. China women’s football Olympics highlights: Eng: 8.7K

  5. Ma Long - Chinese table tennis top athlete story: Eng: 7.6K

  6. Liu Shiwen - Chinese table tennis top athlete story: Eng: 6.8K

  7. 1st gold medal winning moment by Yang Qian for Team China: Eng: 4.1K

  8. Olympic schedule of events, sponsored by Allianz: Eng: 3.6K

  9. China women’s gymnastic team’s winning moment: Eng: 3.3K

  10. Wang Shuang - nine-image carousel on China’s women’s football star: Eng: 1.7K

🎮 Esports China’s Esports Industry Offers Training to Ease Talent Shortage China is the world’s largest market for the esports industry and continues to grow at a rapid pace. But esports organisations have been struggling to hire enough talent. To help ease the shortage and better prepare individuals for employment, training institutions have sprung up around the country, offering esports-related professional courses. Watch the video on SCMP (English)

🤔 Opinion Has Donating Become the Latest PR Tool in China? The recent wave of donations for Henan from brands delivers nothing but good publicity for those donating. Jing Daily explores more (English)

🗞️ Other News


WeChat Suspends New Registrations The leading Chinese social media app temporarily has halted registration for new individual users and public accounts. WeChat’s announcement notes that the registration suspension has been implemented while it conducts security upgrades to comply with “related laws and regulations” and will be lifted once upgrades conclude, expected to be in early August. Read more on Radii (English) and Ifeng (Chinese) Beijing Cracks Down on Private Education Chinese officials are now focusing their attention on private businesses within the education sector. Many big Chinese education and private tutoring companies will be negatively impacted from new rules stopping them from making profits or raising funds. Read more on CNN (English) and Chinese Business Network (Chinese)


China Launches Campaign to Clean Up Apps China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced a 6-month campaign to clean up ‘serious problems’ with internet apps violating consumer rights, cybersecurity and “disturbing market order.” The order is part of a wider effort to crack down on tech industries and police use of personal information. Read more on Yahoo (English) and Xinhuanet (Chinese)

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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.

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