• Andrew Collins

China Sports Business Weekly | 3rd November

Updated: May 27, 2019

Here are the top sports business news stories you need to know from this week:

Lyon Partners with Esports Club 

Chinese esports organisation EDward Gaming (EDG) has announced a partnership with Ligue 1 side Lyon. The move sees Lyon expand its existing Chinese FIFA Online 3 roster and EDG officially renamed as “Lyon EDG E-Sports Club”. Earlier this year, Lyon announced its entry in the Chinese FIFA arena by signing four players, becoming the first European club to hold a stake in the Chinese FIFA Online 3 market. Read more on EsportsInsider (English) 

  1. Mailman Take: In 2016, Chinese investment firm IDG Capital Partners purchased a 20% stake in Lyon for $111 million. International sports organisations partnering with Chinese local esports teams is becoming a popular form of cooperation, which started from investment and has now extended to buying talent.  

CCTV Granted Exclusive FIFA Rights

FIFA has reached an agreement with China Central Television (CCTV) to grant them the exclusive media rights in China for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, as well as all of its other major international competitions until 2022, including the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The FIFA World Cup will be available on CCTV’s multiple channels as well as on various new media and mobile platforms. CCTV has been the official FIFA World Cup broadcaster in China since 1978. Read more on FIFA.com (English)

  1. Mailman Take: CCTV is state-owned and the biggest public broadcaster in China, reaching 99% of the country’s population. As such it is the most powerful broadcaster in the world. The partnership extension will help FIFA reach the widest possible audience in China through CCTV and its digital platforms. CCTV has the option to sub-license to local broadcasters and networks. 


Social Partnership for Sina Weibo and Real Madrid

Real Madrid has entered into a partnership with Sina Weibo, one of the largest social media platforms in China. Under the agreement, Sina Weibo becomes Real Madrid’s official Chinese-language social media platform. Sina Weibo will use multiple online channels to promote Real Madrid content, including information covering games, training sessions, and fan activities. Read more on SinaTech (Chinese) 

  1. Mailman Take: Real Madrid has stepped up its expansion in China over the past year. Madrid recently opened a Beijing office and is now actively looking for local sponsors and partners to work with. Partnering with Weibo is an important step to engage with more online resources and to reach a larger target audience.

Also this week:

SPD Bank Launches Evergrande FC Credit Card

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank) has announced a strategic partnership with Guangzhou Evergrande FC. The Chinese bank will collaborate with the Chinese Super League team to launch a co-branded credit card in China, which will feature images of Evergrande players or the club’s badge. Read more on SportsPro (English)

Alibaba Co-founder Buys Stake in Brooklyn Nets

Alibaba Group’s co-founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Joseph Tsai, has agreed to buy 49% of the Brooklyn Nets from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in a deal that values the NBA club at a record $2.3 billion. The agreement gives Tsai the option to buy the remaining stake of the team in 2021. The transaction doesn’t include the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn arena where the team plays its home games. Read more on Bloomberg (English)

PUMA Signs Actress Gulnazar as Ambassador

PUMA has signed young Chinese actress and star Gulnazar as an ambassador in China. In 2017, PUMA added young actors and models as part of its ambassador portfolio, which shows the sports brand now focuses on fashion as well as athletic performance. Read more on SportsMoney (Chinese)


Mailman is a sports digital consultancy and marketing platform and a leader in the China Sports Marketing industry. We help global rights holders, athletes, and leagues to build a successful business in China.


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