China Sports Business Weekly: Laliga Launches Alipay Mini Program

The NBA Returns to CCTV

China’s state broadcaster unexpectedly aired a National Basketball Association (NBA) game for the first time in 18 months, offering some hope that relations between the league and China are improving. The game shown was between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. Read more on Reuters (English) and The Paper (Chinese)

Mailman Take: This happened without any major announcement or marketing, highlighting that CCTV is remaining low-key regarding the NBA, despite the return of matches on-air. Only in the long term can we tell if the relationship is fixed. Not including the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, CCTV has focused less on international sports IPs in recent years, meaning the IPs must put more importance on the partnerships with digital broadcasters and short video platforms.

La Liga Launches Alipay Mini Program 

The Spanish football organisation has become the first national football association to launch an official Mini Program on the platform. On La Liga’s Mini Program, fans can access club information, take part in competitions, join communities, and watch unique content. Read more on Sina (Chinese)

Mailman Take: Alipay has forever trailed Tencent's powerful and ever-evolving social media ecosystem. Whilst Alipay has never been able to penetrate the social circle, this could be an early step to be a major player in this Mini Program space. As of December last year, Alipay had 640M monthly active users, representing a significant opportunity for sports organisations to tap into new audiences and further engage current ones.

China's Local Sportswear Industry Booms

China's homegrown sportswear brands are connecting with the country’s younger generation as the battle between local and international brands heats up. The burgeoning Chinese athletic apparel industry has been heavily boosted by the recent Beijing Olympics, emerging as a new driving force for China's economic growth. Read more on Xinhua (English)

Pixellot to Stream SFA Games

The AI-powered video content production company’s deal with the Shanghai Football Association (SFA) will see matches from three professional leagues and one youth league within the SFA streamed via Pixellot’s unmanned cameras and broadcast on third-party outlets such as Migu, Tencent, and Read more on SportTechie (English)

Joggers Drive Running Boom in China

The growing interest from the public has brought out a surge in mass events such as marathons, with running now claimed to be the most participated sport in China. The country saw the number of marathons taking place in the country hit 1,828 in 2019 – a more than 30-fold increase compared to 51 in 2014. Read more on DAO (English)

China’s World University Games Still on Despite Withdrawals

Organisers of the World University Games, which open in just under three months in Chengdu, say they are going ahead despite some countries pulling out of the event. Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Luxembourg have reportedly withdrawn due to COVID-19 concerns.

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