top of page
  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 31st July

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

Here’s what’s been making the headlines this week: The NHL unites hockey community with digital fan event, UFC’s Dana White excited for Performance Institute results, MLB & Tencent celebrate Opening Day, EPL football returns to CCTV5, PP Sports welcomes back CSL, Jay Chou’s Kuaishou livestream nets US$2.6M, MORE Sports launches Trae Young, and Digitas agrees deal with Huya. 

In this week’s From The Top we spoke with Wang Dong, Sports Broadcast & Lead Anchor at China Global Television Network (Part of the CCTV Group), about Chinese sports over the next 12 months, how international sports can gain exposure on CGTN, keeping in touch with China fans, and CGTN’s approach to digital.

Top Industry News

1) NHL Digital Fan Event Hits 2.3M Viewership in China The National Hockey League (NHL) delivered a China-wide virtual fan event to celebrate the season resumption, reaching 2.3M in viewership. The digital fan event was live streamed on Chinese social media platform Weibo. During the event, there was the launch of an educational cartoon series named ‘NHL University’, as well as a number of interactive fan engagement activities, Q&A’s, and life story segments. Watch the full digital fan party on Weibo (Chinese)

2) Dana White: “We will absolutely produce more stars and more world champions out of the Performance Institute Shanghai.” The President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) spoke exclusively with China Global Television Network about Fight Island, Zhang Weili, the Performance Institute Shanghai, and globalisation strategy. Watch the full interview on CGTN (English) 3) MLB & Tencent Team Up for MLB Opening Day MLB co-launched an Opening Day event with Tencent Sports to provide guests an authentic ballpark experience, announcing its content strategy and youth program for the 2nd half, as well as its collaboration with iconic comic IP The Outcast. Read more on CGTN (English) and Ecosports (Chinese)

4) EPL Football Back on CCTV5 Following last week’s news that Live coverage of the English Premier League (EPL) match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC had been demoted from CCTV5 to CCTV5+, EPL Live coverage officially returned to CCTV5 at the weekend, with Leicester City vs. Manchester United broadcast Live on the CCTV5 channel at 11:00pm China time. Along with CCTV5 Live coverage of this match, PP Sports - the exclusive digital broadcaster for the EPL in China - broadcast all 10 EPL matches live on its OTT platforms. Read more on NetEase (Chinese) 5) PP Sports Claims 30M Viewership for Return of CSL, All Channels Reaches 80M Viewing figures from the 1st day of the 2020 CSL season, published by digital sports broadcaster PP Sports, stated 30M+ viewership for the two matches, of which 20M were for Guangzhou Evergrande 2-0 victory over Shanghai Shenhua on PP Sports’ digital platforms. Across all channels, including traditional, that number climbed to 80M for the first full weekend of CSL football. Read more on Jiemian (Chinese) 6) to Sponsor CSL The Chinese Super League (CSL) reached a long-term agreement with online classified ads marketplace, and its secondary real estate platform Anjuke to jointly sponsor the league. becomes the CSL’s official life service platform, while the brand’s online recruitment service becomes the official recruitment platform of the CSL, and 58 Tribes the official fan tribe. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Lanxiong Sports (Chinese) 7) BWF Cancels China Events This year’s China Open, scheduled from 15 to 20 of September in Changzhou, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19. The BWF also stated the Taiwan Open (Sept. 1-6), Korea Open (Sept. 8-13) and Japan Open (Sept. 22-27) have also been cancelled. Read more on Reuters (English) and Tencent (Chinese)

In Other News Lewis Wiltshire Appointed CEO of Mailman EMEA and Seven League The former Twitter head of sport and BBC Sport editor, has been appointed as the new CEO of Mailman EMEA and Seven League, as Mailman Group continues its mission to unlock audiences and revenue for its clients, globally. Read more on Sport Industry Group (English) and Mailman Group (English) Jay Chou’s Kuaishou Livestream Debut Nets US$2.9M in Virtual Gifts The pop sensation collected the US$2.9M, which he will donate to charity, during his first-ever Livestream on popular short-form video platform Kuaishou, having launched on June 1 this year. During the Livestream, he delivered a 30-min magic show and answered questions from fans. Kuaishou provided comprehensive support throughout the Livestream, resulting in a total of 16M fans subscribing to watch before it had even started. The Results: 8M new followers for Jay Chou, 380M in engagement, 68M total views, 16M total subscribers, 6M peak viewership, 30-minute Livestream. Read more on Caixin (English) and Sina (Chinese)

MORE Sports Launches Trae Young on Douyin Another NBA player expanded their presence in China, with NBA All-Star Trae Young launching his Douyin account. The launch video attracted 4.5M views and 350K+ engagements. Douyin also invited well-known basketball KOLs to post welcome videos for Trae Young on the platform. The Trae Young account then interacted with the KOL videos, and also issued a Douyin challenge to all fans with prizes for winners. The related hashtag gained 9M+ views and ranked #2 on trending topics for the day. As one of their most recent NBA player signings, MORE will be releasing several new shows with Trae through both Douyin and their own app. Check out his Douyin page Video of the Week The National Hockey League (NHL) officially launched Episode 1 of its China-specific educational cartoon series ‘NHL University’. This is NHL's new content series to draw in the next generation of hockey fans through education of the sport. This marks the first episode of an 11-part series that will be the first to be fully animated and tailored to audiences in China. Esports News Dignitas Agrees Streaming Deal with Huya Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment-owned esports organization Dignitas has signed a streaming partnership deal with Chinese live-streaming platform Huya. Dignitas claims that this partnership is the organisation’s first step into the Chinese esports market. Read more on Esports Observer (English) and Lanxiong Sports (Chinese)

From The Top

Wang Dong, Sports Broadcast & Lead Anchor at China Global Television Network (Part of the CCTV Group).

1. How do you envision the future of Chinese sports in the next 12-18 months? First of all, it’s great to have our key domestic sports back, it’s uplifted a lot of people and we’re gradually getting back to normal. It’s a positive sign and message to receive, even though fans are limited in stadiums, there’s been a concerted group effort to ensure the leagues go ahead without any disruption. Credit has to go to the people who have made this happen under such difficult circumstances. A lot of people will be wondering when the doors will be open for other countries to enter China, particularly looking at the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics, not to mention the many, many international events which have been cancelled this year. We have to roll with the domestic leagues, and even the lower sports taking place in tier 2 & 3 cities, making the most of what we have. We hope to see more people back in arenas and stadiums later this year, as well as games happening all around the country, not just in selected cities. But it won’t be a quick fix, patience will be needed and plenty of it. 2. How important is it for international teams and players to keep in touch with their China fan bases given they likely won’t be able to enter the country this year? Modern technology has become more important than ever to help us do our job. In a situation where interviews are done remotely, or albeit currently in a glass booth or at a safe distance in person, it’s much harder for international stars to be present with their fans. We have global superstars such as the reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu speaking to us in the next few days so that she can speak directly to her fans. She’s played in cities such as Wuhan and Zhuhai many times, and has great memories from there. And not to mention Wuhan was the original epicenter of COVID-19, the people from that city will be touched by her words. We’ve also spoken recently to table tennis legend Ma Long, and footballers Wu Lei and Oscar. We’re always willing to speak to these athletes and give them a platform to spread their positive messages and make a difference to their fans. 3. What does CGTN Sports look for in terms of coverage and how can sports properties gain more exposure on the channel? It goes both ways as CGTN reaches out, but we also have people reaching out to us, we have global offices all around the world. We do our best to deliver clear messages to nations around the world about China. We’re part of the wider CCTV group and have a huge platform and reach in many languages. Of course key China events such as the upcoming Beijing 2020 Winter Olympics will be a focus moving forward. And we always try to look for positive messages, be part of people's lives, and sports news is a big part of this. We have dedicated reporters for local leagues such as the CSL, CBA and so on, so local events are key. On the other side, we always try to raise the bar and provide coverage and interviews with key names in sports, for example we recently did an interview with UFC’s Dana White which was really insightful, So we see this always as a two-way relationship with who and what we cover. 4. How is CGTN utilising digital to reach new audiences, not just relying on the well established traditional platform? You’d be surprised how much attention we give to our digital channels. From our point of view, we have created a special team called the ‘new media department’ including many local and foreign experts to help us show our stories on many mediums. We actually encourage our anchors and commentators to utilise overseas social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. before we even air our programs in a traditional way. Our new media will sometimes get the opportunity to beam out the news before tradition. It’s a faster and smarter way to get our news out at times, so we don’t just rely on our traditional platform. New media is the way forward and it’s the best way we can interact with our readers overseas, so we’re fully encouraging this medium, and we see our staff and channels interacting on a regular basis. --

Now you can subscribe to our China Sports Business Weekly brief and have it delivered directly to you, wherever you are.

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 the globe we specialise in digital strategy, transformation, social media, content production and eCommerce. Learn more about our story here.

129 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page