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.
Increasingly in the sports world, former – and even current – sports stars are taking ownership stakes in franchises. Could China be part of this growing trend?
In a marketing stroke of genius, the Dallas Mavericks are asking their Chinese fans to choose a new (Chinese) name for the team. Here’s why having a good Chinese name for your brand, product or even sport can be the crucial difference between standing out in the world’s largest market or going unnoticed.
Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming may be best known for his on-court exploits, but he’s now facing a challenge of a very different sort as he looks to reform Chinese basketball. In a Chinese sports version of Bannon vs. Kushner, the big man is battling “the establishment” in order to gain influence behind the scenes. But the obstacles he’s facing may be so entrenched that the entire sports industry in China is affected.
Rumors started to circle earlier this year that Yao Ming would be appointed as the new head of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), and despite resistance in certain quarters – including this editorial from state-run news agency Xinhua which called him too young and too inexperienced [link in Chinese] – he seemed the obvious candidate.
Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin become first Chinese players drafted for nine years, but both face an uphill battle to play in the NBA.
A year ago, ice hockey player Song Andong was touted as China’s next big sporting star after being drafted by the NHL’s New York Islanders, then swiftly promoted as one of the faces of China’s 2022 Winter Olympic Games bid campaign. This spring, it is the turn of two Chinese basketball players, Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin, who were drafted by the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively.
China’s winter sports push continues with arrival of professional ice hockey franchise in the capital.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing this weekend and is set to sign around 30 new deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but the most interesting of all from a sporting perspective will be fresh details about Beijing’s new franchise in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia’s answer to the NHL.
After a breathless few weeks during which the entire sporting world has been talking about Chinese football (with yours truly quoted by AFP three times, FT twice, El Pais, Hicimos, Vice Sports and interviewed by CCTV, BBC and Al Jazeera among others), let’s take a look at a few stories that could be cropping up over the next 12 months…
In the beginning there was Yao Ming. Then came Li Na. Could swimmer Sun Yang be the next Big Chinese Sports Star?