• Denis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 8th April


Hello Industry Friends, here are the very latest news and insights from China.


📰 Headlines: CSL clubs face disqualification, Juventus and Zhibo8 reach content cooperation, Hangzhou 2022 venues ready, RADII to launch MMA-focused documentary, Women’s Super League lands new sponsorship deal, Du Zhaocai elected EAFF President, Tencent LPL Spring playoffs postponed, and meet ecommerce platform Poizon. 🗣 In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Lin Yufeng, CEO of Zhibo8, all about the digital platform, the recent content cooperation with Juventus, and key goals for 2022 regarding working with Western sports organisations, and what makes the Zhibo8 platform unique.

 

🗞️ Top Industry News

CSL Clubs Face Disqualification If Wages Remain Unsettled Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs must settle outstanding wages by the end of this year or face being relegated or disqualified from the league, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) announced. The move is reportedly aimed at “safeguarding the interests of players and other employees'' ahead of the start of the new season. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Xinhua (Chinese) Juventus & Zhibo8 Reach Content Cooperation The Chinese online sport vertical media platform Zhibo8 will serve as a content cooperation platform for the Serie A club. Fan community development, increasing user & audience engagement, and producing localised content exclusive to Chinese fans are key aspects of the cooperation. Zhibo8 claims 250M community users on mobile, with 13M daily active users. Read more on Juventus (English) and Sports Money (Chinese)


 

Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games Venues Completed The venues for the upcoming September event are complete and ready to begin hosting test events in the coming weeks. The committee said all 56 venues have passed “comprehensive” checks and will now be tested “to ensure they are foolproof and [in] the best condition” in time for the start of the quadrennial event. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and CCTV.com (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Positive news for Hangzhou ahead of the city’s biggest ever sporting competition. With only five months to go until the Asian Games, the latest lockdown in neighbouring Shanghai will no doubt have organisers and sponsors worried. If the Games go ahead, expect strict, Olympic-style bubbles, no international fans, and half-empty stadiums at best.

RADII STUDIOS To Launch MMA-Focused Mini-Documentary Way of the Warrior Directed by Billy Starman and produced and filmed across China and the US, Way of the Warrior reveals the challenges faced by Chinese fighters pursuing their championship dreams at the highest level of competition in their sport — the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Read more on RADII (English) 💡 Mailman Take: MMA is certainly one of the fastest growing sports properties in China, thanks to the UFC’s investment and dedication to the China market, mixed with UFC stars such as Zhang Weili and Song Yadong. Niche documentaries like the Way of the Warrior are a great way to reach new audiences and speak new narratives to dedicated and casual fans. Great job by RADII China and very excited to watch this two-part series.


CFA ‘finalises Women’s Super League sponsorship deal’ with Xinri Electric Vehicle The sponsorship agreement with the electric vehicle manufacturer will cover China’s top women’s leagues. The agreement sees the Wuxi-based company become an official sponsor of the Chinese Women’s Super League and Chinese Women’s Football League. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and China Daily (Chinese)


Du Zhaocai Elected EAFF President The deputy minister of China's State General Administration of Sport was elected as the President of the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) at the 10th EAFF Congress in Doha, Qatar, on Friday. Du will serve in this position for the next four-year term that runs until 2026. Read more on Xinhua (English) and Xinhua (Chinese)

 

🎮 Esports Tencent To Shut Down its Video Game Streaming Platform Penguin Esports The move comes months after Beijing shut down a huge merger that would have made the Chinese internet giant a major player in the area. Like Amazon’s Twitch, Tencent’s Penguin Esports hosts livestreams of professional gaming tournaments and other video game-related content. Read more on CNBC (English) and The Beijing News (Chinese) Tencent LPL Spring Playoffs Postponed The original playoffs were scheduled for April 8. Now due to the epidemic, it is postponed to April 12. And, the playoffs will be an online tournament format. Besides, the time of the finals has not been decided yet. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese)

 

🗞️ Other News


Shein Seeks $10B in Financing The fast-fashion e-commerce company is in talks with General Atlantic regarding a new round of financing. SHEIN is reportedly raising $1B at a $100B valuation. According to multiple sources, the main investors with whom SHEIN is communicating include another large investment group. Read more on Pandaily (English)

 

🤔 Opinion Meet Poizon, China’s Latest Ecommerce Platform Local e-commerce giants and social media platforms are diversifying their business models to optimise revenue streams, while some early adopters in the luxury sector have expanded their presence beyond WeChat, Weibo, and Tmall. Social commerce is changing. Emerging platforms are part of this. Poizon, in particular, has great potential - now home to China’s largest online streetwear community. How best, then, for luxury houses to navigate it? Read more on Jing Daily (English)

 

🎙️ From The Top 🗣 Lin Yufeng, CEO of Zhibo8 1. Can you give a general overview of Zhibo8 to readers who may be unfamiliar with the platform?


Zhibo8 was born in 2007. Over the past 15 years, we have experienced the cross-generational change from the PC Internet to the digital Internet, as well as the great development of the sports industry that emerged in China in 2015. Thanks to years of industry upgrade and our employees' continuous efforts, the company has now become a comprehensive sports platform, integrating sports-related information, events, data, interaction, short videos, etc., among various sports such as football, basketball, esports, tennis, volleyball, F1, snooker and other categories, and we have served more than 260M sports fans.


2. How did the content cooperation with Juventus happen, what will be included as part of this cooperation?

Zhibo8’s community has a large number of football fans, in which Juventus has the most fans. This also caught the club's attention. The day before our cooperation announcement, one of our users uploaded a post which expressed that his child was very sad after Juventus lost and asked for the help from the Zhibo8 community. We saw that and got in touch with the club immediately. Eventually, Chiesa made a special video to the young fan and gave him a signed football as a gift with his sincere wishes. This helped to form a good reputation and public opinion on the Zhibo8 platform, and also passed the value of football. In the future, we will continue to work hard in terms of content production, community management, major event planning as well as ecommerce marketing.


3. What are Zhibo8's key goals for 2022 regarding working with sports organisations?


In our contact with the majority of Zhibo8's fans, we found that in addition to watching the games, they are more eager to have more intimate and more multi-dimensional contact with their beloved clubs, events and players. As a platform with a large number of fans and users, we are obliged to help them fulfill this wish in the community. We hope the partnership with Juventus is a good start. In the future, we can reach cooperation with more institutions, organizations, events, or players, so that more fans can contact and get more understanding of different sports cultures in various ways.


4. For western sports organisations interested to work with Zhibo8, what makes your platform unique and what would be some of the ways you would work together?


After 15 years of development and innovation, Zhibo8 has gathered a group of loyal, reliable fans and users. Many fans have grown up with Zhibo8 since 2007, from teenagers to middle-aged fans. Now their children are turning into a new generation of users for us, like the example of Juventus. This heritage gives Zhibo8 a unique fan atmosphere. As far as football culture is concerned, while we envy the historical accumulation of European clubs with a century of history, we also hope that we can make a little contribution to the development and inheritance of football culture in China one step at a time.

 

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