One canceled golf tournament might not, at first glance, seem like a huge deal, but a worrying trend of overreaching has dogged Alisports since its inception – and the cracks are starting to show.
Imagine it’s October 2016 and you’re the LPGA. You’ve just signed a ten-year deal with Alisports, giving them ownership rights of your most important tournament in China. All the usual cliches spring to mind – growing the game, millions of new fans, next generation of golfers etc – and you’re feeling pretty pleased with yourselves. It’s Alibaba – they’re one of the biggest companies in China, they know China, Jack Ma is basically Steve Jobs, they’ve got trillions of users etc. What could go possibly wrong?
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has long been a fan of sports diplomacy, having taken international rugby and cricket players with him on previous trips around the Asia-Pacific region. On his current trip to China, rugby was once again at the fore.
Chinese TV and electronics brand Changhong has announced a one-year shirt sponsorship deal with Australian rugby league team Parramatta Eels. Changhong’s first major sports sponsorship will see the company’s logo appear on the back of the Eels’ playing jerseys for the 2013 National Rugby League (NRL) season. The Changhong name will also appear on the goal posts at the Eels’ 20,000-capacity Parramatta Stadium as well as signage around the ground. As you might expect, there will also be Changhong TVs all over the venue.