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2015 in review: the sports business in China (III)

By He Lanying Tuesday, 05 Jan 2016 17:30

2015 has been a prominent and fruitful year for Chinese sports development with a series of big moves and announcement made in the 12 months. All the signs indicate that China’s influence in the global sports market is growing by the day. Now we will look back at some of the year’s headline-making news in the Chinese sports industry.

Overseas properties’ expansion in China


Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur launched a Chinese language website on Chinese internet giant Netease's web platform.


The International Champions Cup (ICC) announced its global expansion for 2015 and brought European soccer clubs to China and Australia.

The NFL announced plans for a massive global expansion that could see games being played in China and other countries.


Euroleague Basketball and HBN (Beijing Hualu Baina Film & TV Inc.) announced an agreement to form a brand new company in China that will manage the rights of Europe's premier professional basketball league and further grow its commercial opportunities in Asia's biggest market.

The Women’s Tennis Association announced its schedule for 2016, where there will be nine tournaments staged across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


Italian Serie A club Inter Milan announced a five-year partnership deal with Yitao Shanghai Football Club to develop youth football in China.

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) announced its expansion into the Chinese market.

Basketball Bundesliga side Alba Berlin opened its first foreign office in Beijing.


Sports management consulting firm TSE Consulting unveiled plans to establish a permanent base in China after helping the country secure the hosting rights to the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich were reportedly set to open a subsidiary in Shanghai, China, according to their director of internationalization and strategy, JörgWacker.


Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, announced its plans to set up a commercial office in Shanghai. 

Carlos Wizard Martins announced his partnership with retired soccer legend Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima to launch a franchise of 30 soccer academies in China.

The International Boxing Federation Global announced ambitious plans to enter the Chinese market with the appointment of Ruihang Wang as the President of IBF China.


After selling a 13% stake in Manchester City’s parent company City Football Group to a Chinese consortium, the multibillion football business is expected to soon open another commercial office in Shanghai.  

The Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), an international professional ice hockey league, are seeking to use a successful Chinese Winter Olympic bid as a catalyst for expansion in China.

After franchising four youth football training schools in Luoyang, Henan Province, in partnership with the local education bureau, the Serie A side AC Milan continues to expand its operations in Shenyang.

As part of its financial and global expansion plan, FC Barcelona announced a plan to build a stronger presence in mainland China by setting up a commercial office in Shanghai.

Sports events/bids 


Patrick Baumann, the secretary-general of FIBA, paid a visit in China in May, meanwhile the organization announced that Guangzhou will host 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championships.


German champions Bayern Munich toured China in July and it was reported they pocketed at least 10 million euros.

The 2015 International Champions Cup was held in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai from July 25 to July 29 and featured A.C. Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.


2015 The Italian Super Cup took place in Shanghai on August 8th.

The 15th IAAF World Championships in Athletics were held from 22–30 August 2015 in Beijing, China.

IOC President Thomas Bach announced that Beijing will become the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympic Games after beating Kazakhstan's Almaty to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Fiba Central Board confirmed China as hosts for the 2019 FIBA World Cup as it edged out competition from the Philippines.


Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province in eastern China, was chosen by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to host the 2022 Asian Games in September.


Two NBA preseason games took place in China this October, both matching up the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers.


The International Fencing Federation (FIE) announced on November 21 that China's Wuxi has been awarded the hosting rights to the 2018 FIE Senior World Championships.

Two Pac-12 teams Texas Longhorns and the Washington Huskies played their first game in China with the help of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, making Pac-12 the first US collegiate sports league to host a regular season game in China. 


Wanda Sports, the newly formed subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda signed a partnership deal with Xiamen’s governing body on December 24 which will see Xiamen host Ironman events in November.

China announced it is planning to bid for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 which will commence in June or July 2023, when 51 matches will be held within 30 days.

Proofread by John Devlin



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