China Sports Business Weekly: English Premier League wins Suning battle

China Sports Business Weekly: English Premier League wins Suning battle
Hello Industry Friends, here are the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: English Premier League wins Suning battle, table tennis returns to China, 300M winter sports participation goal achieved, CUBA lands Douyin and Taobao, weightlifting carnival set for Chongqing, PUBG keeps revenue coming in, and what’s next for China’s naturalised players?

 Top Industry News

PP Sports Ordered to Pay English Premier League $213M
London's High Court announced the ruling following the collapse of the Premier League’s broadcast deal with Suning’s PP Sports. The contract was terminated in September 2020 after the broadcaster defaulted on payments due in March and June that year. Read more on Reuters (English) and Hupu (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: A strong statement by the EPL as few had expected them to pursue. Getting the money from Suning will be a different story altogether due to the Suning-owned property being in financial disarray. If the EPL recovers even half the amount it will be a win.

World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Head to Chengdu
The ITTF announced this year’s World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals will take place in Chengdu, from April 17- 26. The ITTF stated the organising committee has meticulously set up extensive COVID-19 protocols to ensure all participants can compete in a “closed-loop” bubble, similar to the one being used ahead of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and People‘s Daily (Chinese)

💡 Mailman Take: If the ITTF successfully completes this event in Chengdu without any COVID-19 outbreaks, it will act as a case study for all other international sport events looking to activate in China this year and beyond. Table tennis being one of the most popular and locally successful sports in China, there was likely a more favorable sway with the government to get the green light.

CUBA Lands Douyin and Taobao as Sponsors
For the Chinese University Basketball Association (CUBA), Douyin will act as the league’s official short video partner, while Taobao has been made the league’s official cross-border ecommerce partner. Taobao is part of the Alibaba ecommerce group which agreed to a seven-year operational partnership with CUBA worth $156.9M back in 2018. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Sports Money (Chinese)

China Achieves 300M Winter Sports Goal

China's National Bureau of Statistics stated the goal of "driving 300M people to participate in winter sports’ has been achieved. China now plans to take the next step and make winter sports available year-round across more regions . Read more on CGTN (English) Xinhua (Chinese).

JD.com Sponsors National Freestyle Aerial Skiing Team

JD is a giant in Chinese online retail, with revenues of $114B and a sports sponsorship portfolio that previously included the Chinese Super League, Chinese Basketball Association and Beijing marathon. As part of the partnership, JD.com will help promote the development of winter sports through its own platforms. Read more on SportBusiness (English) Reference News (Chinese).

Chinese FA Financials Show Pandemic Impact
The Chinese Football Association reported a total financial loss of $7.8M over 2019 and 2020. In previous years, the CFA generated financial surpluses. In 2018, net income was RMB 30M, on revenues of RMB 840M. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Beijing Youth Daily (Chinese)

China Plans Weightlifting World Championship Carnival

The first competition in qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is set to be a landmark occasion for weightlifting. The 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships, due to take place in Chongqing in China in October or November, will be "a carnival for the international weightlifting family". Read more on Inside the Games (English) and Chinanews.com (Chinese)


🎮 Esports

China Leads PUBG Mobile Revenue Drive

PUBG Mobile has maintained its position at the top of the mobile gaming grossing charts by Sensor Tower for December 2021. The mobile battle royale title generated over $244M in the last month of the year, representing a 36.7% YOY increase. The majority of the game’s revenue, about 68.3%, has come from China. Read more on Dotesports (English) and IT Home (Chinese)

🤔 Opinion

What’s Next for China’s Naturalised Football Players?
During the country’s football boom, clubs were willing to pay large sums to support the national team’s naturalisation experiment. Then the bubble popped. Tobias Ross takes a look at the future for these players. Read more on Sixth Tone (English

The Inspiring Backstory of Pro Freestyle Skier and Model Eileen Gu

Beijing 2022 medal favourite Eileen Gu is a world champion freestyle skier, model, cultural ambassador, and so much more. Kayla He from Radii China explores her backstory and rise to fame. Read more on Radii China IEnglish)

🗞️ Other news

Zhang Yimou Plans Powerful Olympics Ceremony
A 100-minute show which includes 3K artists will illustrate three major themes of world peace, the Olympic motto and Beijing 2022’s ‘together for a shared future’. The famous director stated: ‘In the wake of the pandemic, the world needs a new and strengthened vision’. Read more on SCMP (English) and CCTV.com (Chinese)

NFTs heat up in China as ‘digital collectibles’ despite tough regulations on profits
Tech giants Alibaba, Tencent, and Bilibili all have their own ‘digital collectibles’ to cash in on despite government scrutiny. China’s tough regulatory environment has companies shunning the term NFT and barring users from selling their digital assets for cash. Read more on SCMP (English)


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Founded in 1999, Mailman is China's leading sports digital marketing agency. We help the world's most ambitious sports organisations, teams, athletes and brands build a winning business in China. Through rich storytelling, unforgettable fan experiences and strong partnerships, we cement the foundation for sustained success. Mailman is an Endeavor company. Learn more about our story here.

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