Recently, Chinese men’s national football team showed up in their new shirts to train for the Asian Cup, in the hot Brisbane, Australia. On the same day in Beijing, where the sun shined brightly in the middle of the winter, Lin Dan held an announcement conference of his signing with Yonex in the badminton stadium of Beijing University of Technology. Lin Dan wore a whole new outfit: new shoes, new coat, new trousers, with a backdrop board printed with Yonex’s logos.
These two new partnerships made a public appearance on the same day, which is certainly a coincidence, but they reflected the commercialization progress of China’s sports industry.
It is particularly difficult for Lin Dan in terms of signing this deal, because he is an athlete of the national badminton team of China where athletes are usually not permitted to do private endorsements. He is an exception that is specially allowed by the national team as a result of his outstanding performances and great contributions to the team. On the end of last year, there were already rumors of the deal, however, a news conference was cancelled, and didn’t officially publish notices until now.
Lin didn’t say the exact price of the deal, though popular sayings are that he would get 100 million renminbi for a term of ten years. He would be able to use Yonex bats and wear its shoes during national team’s games, while he must wear Li Ning’s clothes, the sponsor of the national team.
Similarly, Nike also didn’t reveal the exact number of their price. What is sure is that they got a long term, approximately 12 years, which expanses through three World Cups. What’s more, they have included almost all the outfits in the deal, even wearable devices in the future.
Lin Dan’s deal is a significant new start for Chinese athletes, in the regard of doing commercial endorsements and realizing personal commercial values, though it still needs large amount of time to finally be possible. Nike’s deal with the national football teams shows the commercial attractions of Chinese sports for sponsors (if you consider performances of the men’s national team, you might be surprised that it's so popular).
At the beginning of 2015, Chinese sports industry showed the light of commercialization, not only on these two deals, but also from the governmental side—supports from a number of national ministries to improve sports consumption and developments of the industry.
This trend and theme can be characterized by one interesting sentence: Chinese sports industry would be more valuable from a commercial perspective, and the industry would be a piece of very sweet cake.