Alibaba, which has already transformed China’s e-commerce market and become the country’s most well-known company, is now taking steps to do the same with sports in China by announcing a wide-ranging strategic partnership with Oceans Sports & Entertainment at a press conference held yesterday afternoon.
Encouraged by the Chinese Central government’s sports reform plan which aims to revitalise the Chinese sports market and develop it into a 5-trillion-yuan business by 2025, Alibaba, along with Sina and Yunfeng Capital set up a sport unit, Ali Sports, last September. Their aim is to ride the wave and to cash in on this burgeoning market.
Ali Sports Group expects to integrate e-commerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment, cloud computing and other Internet-enabled technologies to form a sports platform that will participate in different aspects of the professional sports industry, including sports copyrights, sports media, events, ticketing, etc.
The Chinese company has had several trial runs last year in anticipation of increasing the volume of its projected sports business or more precisely, its internet-enabled sports eco-system.
Ali Sports signed a series of deals with FIFA, NCAA-Pac-12 and other sports leagues, organisations, teams and sports celebrities last year. The company opened this year by striking a deal with the NFL, making it the first company to bring the American sport to Chinese audience.
Apart from the deal with NFL, Ali Sports also announced deals with the Shanghai Sports Bureau, the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Germany’s Wige Media, a Cologne-based TV production company, and Shankai Sports, a fast-growing sports marketing company based in Beijing.
The sport unit is also looking to work with FIBA to promote basketball in China and worldwide and held talks with Patrick Baumann, International Basketball Association (IBA) Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member in late January. The two parties are expected to forge a strategic, long-term comprehensive partnership on a number of topics across FIBA’s various assets in Europe, Asia and worldwide.
The partnership with Oceans Sports is the latest move that demonstrates Ali Sports’ commitment to grow its sports business and eventually to transform China’s sports market.
The multi-year agreement establishes a framework for the pair of industry leaders to work together on a range of projects moving forward, including:
-Importing and marketing various international sports organizations in China; with partnership arrangements ranging from provision of specific services to full representation, rights buyouts and joint venture partnerships.
-Helping domestic sports organizations grow and market themselves more effectively with world-class methodology and technology.
-Creating new content, digital marketing systems and relevant service offerings for both international and domestic sports properties and manufacturers to exploit more extensive opportunities in China’s booming sports market.
-Bringing to China well-established sports education institutes and expertise in sports medicine and training, to meet the exploding domestic demand base for sports industry management practitioners and other human resources in this arena.
The new partnership will definitely further enhance Ali Sports’ presence in the Chinese sports market. It’s just the beginning of what Alibaba has committed to doing and where it is trying to get to in the Chinese sports world.
Proofread by John Devlin.