2015 Shanghai Sports Show was closed on November 8. Many sports capital and media giants including Alibaba Sports Group, Tencent Sports, Hupu Sports and PPTV appeared on the four-day event, among which the newly-established Alibaba Sports Group aroused huge interest from others.
“Alibaba is an internet company started from e-commerce, which would possibly make people think that Alibaba Sports will follow the similar business mode. But actually, our sports group plans to provide technology and operation service around sports intellectual property. We’ll centre on sports IP and media service and make all aspects of an active life such as interaction, consuming, and self-training, easier and better,” Zhang Dazhong, Alibaba Sports Group CEO, said.
It would develop an internet-based sports platform to enhance consumers and sports fans’ engagement with sports teams and brands. It will integrate e-commerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment and cloud computing among other internet-enabled technologies.
It seems a mystery surrounds Alibaba Sports Group since its establishment in September. Apart from securing a strategic partnership deal with US Pac-12 league, the Group hasn’t announced any big move publicly. Zhang’s above statement during the event may raise a corner of the veil surrounding Alibaba Sports.
According to statistics, there are 25.5% of Chinese people participating in sports activities on a regular basis, compared to 70% of that in developed countries. That population could reach 40% in Shanghai. Zhang said what Alibaba Sports need to do next is to encourage more people participate in sports activities more easily. Based on the statement, it seems that Alibaba Sports Group will take a different path from LeTV Sports and Tencent Sports.
LeTV Sports and Tencent Sports have ramped up their efforts on enlarging media rights portfolio of top sports events but Alibaba is more likely to create a ecosystem in the downstream of sports industry.
The entry point for Alibaba Sports is clear. On one hand, as growing development of mobile and internet technology,ways for sports fans to participate in a sport activity become easier. Sports fans could use an intellectual platform for self-management, self-training and finding their group when they need. On the other hand, intelligent sports facilities also show a growing trend. In Zhang’s view, above trending would provide Alibaba with opportunities on sports digital economic service.