• Andrew Collins

Weibo Sports Q&A

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

With over 260 million monthly active users, Sina Weibo is China’s #1 social platform for mass exposure. Meanwhile, there are over 50 million registered Weibo accounts belonging to sports brands, giving Chinese netizens easy, instant access to their favourite sports clubs, events and personalities.

After launching in 2014, we caught up with Zhou Tianyi, Operations Manager at Weibo Sports, to discover their journey over the last two years and the future of sports online.

1. Can you give us an introduction to Weibo Sports?  With over 23 million Weibo followers across our Weibo Sports accounts, we possess huge reach within the Chinese sports market. Weibo is the most active mobile interactive platform among sports fans, as well as the most effective promotional tool for sports, both at home and abroad. Our ultimate goal is to bring sports organisations together, in order to deliver the highest quality content to the largest possible audience.


2. What’s the difference between your business and traditional sport channels?  Weibo Sports is based on the Weibo platform and is therefore designed to operate not in competition with existing web and live broadcasting services, but to complement them. Within the sports industry as a whole, our goal is to strengthen the relationship with our users, utilise internet traffic and deliver quality content.

3. How do you help sports organisations and individuals promote themselves on Weibo? In general, we help them in four key areas: content, branding, interaction, and fans. We help sports institutions and media produce up-to-the-minute content following the latest social trends. Through Weibo’s own mechanics, we are able to integrate promoted content into the overall flow of information in order to focus the promotion of a particular brand. Through the platform’s account matrix, we can promote interaction amongst individual accounts, forging connections that can greatly enhance the influence of promotion. Finally, we provide sports brands with suggestions on how to grow their presence on Weibo, helping both organisations and individuals enhance their number of fans and wider influence.

4. Can you give us some previous examples of successful promotion? During Bayern Munich’s visit to China, we cooperated with the official Bundesliga Weibo account to run and promote a number of online campaigns for the club, which received excellent engagement. We also facilitated both online and offline interaction between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, using the Weibo hashtag #KloppvsPochettino for their Premier League fixture, which resulted in a highly effective combination of match coverage and online discussion.

5. With the Olympic Games on the horizon, what are your plans for the event? We will hold a “Social Olympics” for users. With regards to project cooperation, Weibo Sports held a comprehensive strategy conference in Rio, Brazil to begin the Olympic project. We invited the Brazilian president to open a Weibo account as a means of directly promoting the Brazil Olympic Games. In terms of collaboration with official agencies on Weibo, we have already established strategic partnerships with some Brazil Olympics related organisations to provide the fastest and most authoritative official Olympic news for users.

On the ground in Brazil, Weibo has successfully reached out to Chinese communities and Chinese Student organizations for cooperation, ensuring the most organic and original Olympic news coverage. Meanwhile, Weibo is also actively promoting cooperation with local media, which will enable Chinese netizens to enjoy richer information about the Olympics. Domestically, we have established strategic partnerships with China’s most influential sports media’ CCTV5 and China Sports Daily, utilising each parties’ resources to provide our users with a more mobile and more social Olympic spectator experience.

On the other hand, throughout the Olympics, Weibo will offer our users personalised, multimedia Olympic information. We will also set up specialised homepage for every single Chinese Olympic team, so that users can find relevant news about each team on Weibo. In addition, Weibo will establish a custom Olympic Games-related information flow, giving users efficient access to Olympic coverage.

6. Many clubs will visit China this summer, what kind of strategy will you take? Weibo is the largest social media platform in China. From the recently released financial report of Q1 2016, we can see that the number of monthly average users increased to 261m, daily average users reached 120m, while the number of sports groups on Weibo surpassed 50m. This kind of large and accurate system will only attract more and more clubs and superstars to open Weibo accounts so that they can keep in touch with the Chinese market and users directly, through games and activities. We remain completely open to all clubs and will generously invest all promotional resources at our disposal to enhance their influence in China. In addition, we will also help clients to design custom operational plans to bring them closer to Chinese fans.

7. Are there any institutions like Weibo Sports on Western social media? Based on our platform’s characteristics, Weibo Sports is focused on the interconnection between games, internet and TV channels, as well as individual athlete’s agency. As far as I know, for the moment there is no overseas organisation quite like us.


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