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A golden age for marathon industry in China?

By Chen Yaping 06 Nov 2015

Forecast of the marathon industry is on the minds of progressive sports sponsors in China at the moment. More often than ever, sports tycoons, SMEs and private capitals in China are flowing into the marathon industry. With the closing of Guangqi Hongda Hangzhou Marathon 2015 on November 1st, its operator Wisdom Group grabbed the biz. In fact, behind the success of marathon events is more space for the development of this industry.

Hard-to-get entry

The official registration website of Hangzhou Marathon nearly crashed because of too many page views at 4 p.m., September 16th. By 8 p.m. of the same day, over ten thousand people got pre-registration-entry ballots, which rejoiced the operator, who had managed Hangzhou Marathon for three consecutive years. However, a marathon is not only about the event itself, but of sport tourism, sports apparel, athletics arena, sports apps, sports training, transport and hotels, which bring considerable profits for sponsors. In other words, those who provide more service offerings see more returns on investment. As Huang Yilai, an events executive of Wisdom Group predicted, the running market in China values about 30 billion.

Sports industry: a moneybag

Besides Wisdom Group, Zhejiang giants like Alibaba also have started their investment in sports industry. Alibaba founded its sports company by partnering with Sina and Yufeng Capital early this year in September. As Alibaba Sports CEO Zhang Dazhong said, their two key areas of business in the future are health and sports. Different from Wisdom Group’s enthusiasm for great events, Alibaba focuses on developing its own sports intellectual property, because once owning the events intellectual property, the company would have more freedom to manage it.

Private capital: claimer of the pie

Sports tycoons are not unique investors in the sports industry, since private capitals have attempted to share the pie. A former real estate agency changed its name as Lander Sports in Summer this year, and announced that with its focus on Zhejiang women’s football, it would invest in teenagers football training, professional training bases, and international training channels. Lander even set up a 5-billion Zhejiang sports industry fund to follow related industries like internet plus sports, mass sports recreation, sports fashion, and events management,  initiating the blueprint of sports financing platform. 

A golden age for sports in China?  

Is it a golden age for sports industry in China? Of course. Considering strong policy support, great market potential, and ripe investment circumstances, it needs to be given the attention and support it deserves. However, competition is everywhere, with no exception in sports industry. As capitals flow in, the core of sports become even more obvious: the key is that who is higher, faster, stronger in the intense competition, no matter you are an athlete or a CEO.

Source: Morning Express

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