It would be hard to deny that the rising sports market in China is getting more and more lively with Wanda Sports, CMC, Ali Sports, Le Sports and Tencent already the so-called “BIG 5” sports powerhouses. Many would argue ‘There is more to come.’
So, who will be the next one to join the “carnival”?
Without a doubt, Baofeng Group, as the holding company of MP&Silva, are showing great ambition in the growing sports industry, which would potentially make it a serious candidate to be the next phenomenal sports enterprise in China.
Earlier this week, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Feng Xin, founder and CEO of Baofeng Group, at his office in Beijing. He shared his vision on the role of Baofeng in sports and the ambitious plan of the company with its newly established sports subsidiary, Baofeng Sports.
“IP (Intellectual Property) is the basis of Baofeng in content production. Without IP, there would be little we could do. So we regard MP&Silva as a VIP Pass to the sports industry. We are now guaranteed more media rights to sports events with this partnership ” stated Feng as he explained why the Chinese video company decided to buy a major stake in MP&Silva.
With the ‘VIP Pass’ in hand, Baofeng Group recently announced its high-profile entry into the sports industry. Baofeng established a subsidiary sports arm not long after the takeover of MP&Silva.
However, many people may wonder what on earth Baofeng would do in sports? At the World Sports Ecosystem Summit, which was held earlier this week in Beijing, the company announced deals for the new media rights to China’s top tier soccer and basketball (the Chinese Super League and Chinese Basketball Association respectively) for the upcoming 2016/2017 season.
Indeed, Baofeng will soon join the likes of Le Sports, Tencent and Sina, in live streaming sports events in China. But as a technology company, Baofeng intends to highlight Virtue Reality (VR) in its sports streaming in the near future.
“The core of Baofeng Sports is its internet platform. Besides the (Baofeng Sports) APP, we will also launch another one or two (mobile) APPs within three months. Apps, OTT and VR products are the top 3 things for us,” explained Mr. Feng.
“We’ll process content production around our IP properties and develop our business model based on this,” Feng continued.
Like some other leading sports streamers in China, Baofeng Sports will take the pay subscription model seriously in their long-term strategy. As Mr. Feng revealed, one of Baofeng’s revenue streams would come from subscription users. And Baofeng Sports are also planning to tap the second-screen market with a yet-to-be-unveiled APP, which could be named as “TV Partner”, for the TV sports audience.
During the interview, Mr. Feng also shared his ambition to bring out the best of Baofeng Sports in the near future, which would potentially enable sports fans to get an unprecedented viewing experience. As a result, Baofeng Sports would naturally have the opportunities to associate with others, including users and business partners, through sports content.
Despite the fact that the company is now strongly focused on the Chinese market, globalization is something that the company is determined to achieve within a few years. Feng revealed that they are planning to initially reach globalization within the first two years and eventually to make Baofeng Sports a mature global sports platform within five years.
“This is something that I’m eager to see, and if it could be reached, it would be a truly valuable achievement to be reached within a (man’s) limited lifetime.”
As a relative newcomer in sports, Baofeng Sports now only has a team of 20 people or so. One of the most challenging difficulties that Baofeng is facing now is to find a way to recruit more people with a passion for sport and expertise in sports media.
Yet, there is still no answer to the question of whether or not Baofeng will become the sixth sports giant in China. But like Feng said earlier, he is not at all interested in this. What attracts him most is still the huge potential of the Chinese sports industry.
Proofread by Sean O Diobhilin