Fresh off making their 2017 China Sources list, this is my debut China Sports column for SupChina, which you can read in full here. Below is a summary of what went on this week.
Earlier this year, China and Germany established a high-level football partnership, at the center of which China’s U20 national team was to play a series of games against teams in Germany’s south-west. But a Tibetan protest at the very first game has left the entire cooperation in tatters – and could have ramifications for China’s wider sporting ambitions.
Following a documentary on German television last month, the world’s media reported on allegations about China’s doping history, prompting an official reaction from WADA. But how much of this is actually new, what will – or can – WADA do about the claims and what does this mean for China’s future sporting ambitions?
US-based sports marketing guru Joe Favorito reached out and asked me to do a Q&A for his site on various aspects of the Chinese sports industry. Given that his weekly industry newsletter is distributed to well over 30,000 people, I was more than happy to oblige. Joe published the results in two parts – here and here – which are reprinted below.
A large contingent of NHL executives made the trip out to China this week to announce the league’s first initiatives in the country: preseason games between the LA Kings and the Vancouver Canucks in Shanghai (Sept 21) and Beijing (Sept 23), kicking off an eight-year slate of games, which could be upgraded to regular season match-ups as early as 2018. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might help the NHL in China, as well as the obstacles that lie ahead.
Why hockey will make it in China
1) The timing is right. With less than five years to go to the 2022 Olympics, the government is making a serious push to develop winter sports, and it’s no accident that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been featured in very lengthy segments on the national nightly news touring Olympic venues on more than one occasion this year. As I told the Globe and Mail after the announcement was made, there are actually a lot of indications that the government is moving away from soccer at the moment, and making winter sports its No. 1 priority within the sports industry.