By Vanessa Zhou
There’s no doubt that the Olympic Games and the World Cup are two best platforms for global brands to do sports marketing. Although the Chinese football team didn’t get to the 2018 Russia World Cup, Chinese brands are being more active than ever, to participate in this great event. Those who especially want to develop international markets are very interested. Until now, five Chinese enterprises have become official sponsors of Russia 2018, including Wanda, Hisense, Vivo and Mannew, while there was just one Chinese enterprise four years ago in Brazil. Why Chinese sports marketing become so flourish in such a short period? Why are so many Chinese companies interested participating in sports?
1. Chinese economy is now facing transition, entertainment and sports are the key
Several years ago, “Made in China” was the idea occurred to most western people when the country was mentioned. China took full advantages of its largest population. Abundant cheap labor supply and citizen’s strong purchase power make contributions to the latest rapid development of almost all industries. After 20 years, Chinese economy now ranks the second in the world, but overcapacity problem was also brought.
To solve the problem, traditional Chinese manufacturing industry needs a transition. Diminishing the industrial capacities, stimulating the market and accelerating the globalization are all important steps to take. In such a case, Chinese enterprises start to pay attention to the third industry, entertainment and sports business and manufacturing industry with high value-added sectors.
Therefore, entertainment and sports industry come into notice because of originality in individual creativity, skill and talent and a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. It is a relatively superior form of cultural industry and have been seen to become increasingly important to economic well-being.
The most important part of entertainment and sports industry is originality. Nowadays, fast developed new media technology and great informative content lead to a fierce competition of audience’s attention and data traffic. It is clear that only the most creative and original one can get the attention from the audience and afterwards win the market. How to produce premium content has been an urgent task for all Chinese enterprises.
2. Sports assets are of great help with many Chinese companies
Under these circumstances, Chinese enterprises are attracted by top sports assets. First of all, sports itself bring the audience unique emotional experience, and own quantities of loyal fans, which have a stable data traffic. Furthermore, sports have a mature industry chain in developed countries with extremely high commercial value. Last but not least, sports is also an important part of culture, which can be recreated spontaneously and combined with cultural creative industry. Chinese enterprises begin to consider the way of getting top-level sports resources and doing sports marketing.
The top sports IP are cored with sports mega, sports stars and sports clubs. Take sports stars as an example, they have excellent professional skills, ability to create strong emotional influence on audience, and positive characteristics such as effort, hardworking, grit, teamwork and healthy etc. This is what the TV and movie stars who become popular on the base of image settings can’t compared to.
On December the 6th , one of the most influential Chinese business magazine CBN weekly posted the most valuable Chinese stars in 2017, and 7 sports stars were in the list’s first hundred. The top one of those sports stars is Lang Ping. As the leader of the Chinese women's volleyball team in both five straight championships age and the youth age, she is a heroine in China. Such a spokesman is really persuasive to the audience.
3. Chinese enterprises have to catch the chance for future development
In the area like sports marketing which best reflects industry maturity, China is facing a huge gap when compared to Europe and US’s mature market. Take North America as an example, among all sponsorship spending in 2016, sports accounted for $15.7 billion which were 7 times the amount spent in entertainment ($2.22 billion). Additionally, sports is projected to enjoy further increase with a speed much faster than other types of sponsorship.
Besides, media product popular at present is a compromise of system and market, which bored the audience for a long time. Sports will be an excellent breakthrough in this condition.
However, the competition of top international sports resource is quite fierce because great local resource is scarce. The reward of being sponsors of local sports events can’t satisfy Chinese enterprises who want to develop in the international market. Only be the sponsors of top international ones, can they enhance their reputation effectively. It’s a valuable opportunity to combine top international sports resource and Chinese market but professional companies are hard to find.
4. Sports marketing will be more and more important in China
With the continual economic development and the profound globalization, the youth growing up in this age will increasingly pay attention to and get involved in sports. For the younger generation, it’s extremely common to do some sports exercises and watch sports games. For young athletes, they gradually become the backbone power in various sports and great idol of the next generation. Meanwhile, they are always in heated discussions on the social internet, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Lebron James, Steven Curry, Kristaps Porzingis, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, etc. Their commercial value can’t be replaced by any other entertainment stars.
China’s young generation not only compensate for the source of athletes, but also they are cultivate loyal fans following sports stars from the beginning as well. Sports marketing is continuously kept abreast by Chinese enterprises considering the whole environment. From now on, there’s still a big room for China to do sports marketing. Cooperate with the best Chinese sports agency will be the best choice.
All Star Partner is located in Beijing, China. It's a company focusing on branding strategy and commercial development for global brands and organizations. Our mission is to help global brands and organizations to build successful businesses in China.