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Yutang Sports Workshop: China Power in the World of Sport

Friday, 14 Apr 2017 21:04   |   By Sophie Hoffritz Krogh at Yutang Sports

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Photo credit: Getty Image

On the second day 2017-04-05 of SportAccord convention, Yutang sport organised its own workshop on China Power in the World of Sports. China has in recent years become a big influence on the world of sport leading to new opportunities. It was discussed how to harness and strengthen this development, so that both China and the international sports world will be able to benefit.   

The workshop was organised into three parts consisting of a keynote speaker, a talk from the representative of Yutang Sport and a panel. 

Wang dong, Vice President, Alisports, was the keynote speaker. His talk was about Understanding China’s Sports Economy Base Platform Through Winter Sports. Beijing will be the host city for 2022 Winter Olympics. Through ”300 Million People on Ice”, China hopes to generate more public interest on the winter sports. Big data on Chinese Winter Sports based on data from 2016 Taobao and Tmall already show a greater interest from the consumers. Consumers have reached 1.2 million peaking in the winter months of November-January. Higher sales have been evident on items like skiing-products reaching 530 million spent. 

300 Million People on Ice will make it possible to develope four main-points. Through the Media the wish is to educate and promote winter sports to the general public to increase interest. Venues and stadiums will be upgraded to accommodate winter sports. By using big data, they want to train and educate youth and amateurs about winter sports. And finally raise the level of competition for the winter sports events showcasing a whole new skill level.

 Alibaba is promoting the third Revolution in Sports through a digital revolution, where they wish to build China’s base platform of sports economy. 


In the second part Zhang Tingting, BD manager, Yutang Sport, introduced the audience to Chinese Sports Industry Trends & popularity of Sports Consumption in China as Reflected by Media. 

The Chinese Sports Industry Trends of 2016 were as follows:

1.Strong government supports

2.Media rights market competitive

3.Media rights purchase to monetizing the rights

4.Giants enter the sports industry

5.Chinese overseas football club acquisitions

6.Grass-root sport consumption market to be cultivated

7.Growth of events and sport-related services

8.Sports sponsorship market growth potential

9.Winter sports

10.A lack of sports business professionals & experts

Through a detailed analysis of big data concerning the consumption of sports on TV, following conclusions were made; only 4% of consumed television are sports leaving room to grow. However, the viewing time of sports increased in 2016. Most people are watching sports around 9 and 10 pm. The most popular sports of 2016 was the Olympic Games, football, basketball, billiards, badminton and volleyball.  

Through an analysis of the consumption of the Olympic games, it was concluded that 49.4% of the content is being consumed through TV. TV is still the most used method of consumption. 40.8% of consumers uses online streaming. However, mobile phones are slowly surpassing TV as a way of consumption, with 78.8% using mobile phones, but only 59.1% using the TV. 

At the Rio 2016 social media and live streaming made new records with 220 million viewers of athletes’’ live streaming and 10.4 billion times of played Olympic videos played on weibo. The popularity of star athletes live streaming is illustrated through the example of Fu Yuanhui; Fu Yuanhui's first live streaming attracted 10.85 million online-viewers; Her second live streaming was viewed 36.97 million times, liked by 66.804 million people. Her funny expressions and personality through her first interview made her online popularity skyrocket. Her weibo followers increased by 70 times during Rio 2016 stressing the importance of digital content creation and audience participation. 

The workshop ended with a panel discussion on What are the influences of the Chinese sports market, and how to use the opportunities. 

Jonathan Powell, journalist, Yutang sport was the moderator. Panel speakers included Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman, Lin Xiaoxiong, Deputy Director, Peak Sport Brand Center, Zhang Tingting and Wang dong. 

The panel agreed that sport in China has a market interest. The key to success at the Chinese market is to localize the products and fit it to the Chinese needs. Wang Dong mentioned the huge advantage NBA got on the Chinese market by having Yao Ming as a part of the team. 

Jason Ferguson was in general very positive, seeing huge possibilities in the Chinese market.  He wanted to stress that one can’t expect to just take advantage of the huge market, but have to invest money and time to get success. He sees China as a land of opportunity, if you are willing to adapt your business strategy. He believes that local talent exists everywhere, and by developing sport on grass root level in new areas, talent will surface. Sport is gradually becoming more popular in China; especially running is a big trend being utilised through the new digital revolution in sports. If the Chinese people get educated and integrated in sports, sales on sportswear and technology will rise as a consequence. 

The Chinese government has put a lid on foreign investment, trying to keep the money-flow local. Lately there has been a tendency for western companies to try to earn quick money and take advantage of the growing popularity of sports China. Lin Xiaoxiong, however, believes that the company that will have success in the sports-market are those, who has the love for the sport and has been making long-time investments. The Chinese government has set a goal for the growth of the Industry, that Wang Dong thinks can be fulfilled with a lot of work, if companies work on grass-root level and integrate new sports in the Chinese market creating new popularity. 

One problem for the globalised sports market could be the time-difference. Already are sports companies moving their live-activities a few hours to accommodate the Chinese market. However, sport is not necessarily being consumed in the same time across the world. Digital devices are especially helping solve this problem, now that the audience are able to watch the sports at all times. Short clips with the highlights are another solution to this problem. 

Lastly the question of urbanisation was raised. Sport has seen a growth as the Chinese cities have been developed, partly because new sport venues have been built with the cities. Local governments are currently eager to support the new sporting world in China, bidding to host international events and supporting local athletes. Conclusively the panel agreed that the development of sport in China is a great opportunity for both Chinese and international corporations, if companies are able to adapt. 

Tags: #SAC2017

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