MONACO, Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A bi-annual highlight of the global sports copyright sector, the latest Sportel MONACO was held between October 12th to 15th. Thanks to China's fast-growing sports industry, China's largest Internet company Tencent became the summit's focal point, dominating a sub-forum on the theme of China's sports industry. Just prior to Sportel MONACO, Tencent Sports also attended the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, England and Sports Matters in Singapore to talk with other industry giants and broaden its global influence.
At the "New media and China's sports industry" sub-forum, Tencent Sports served as representative for China's new, sports-specific media. Tencent Sports shared its experience in deploying resources in the sports industry and boosting it through an innovative connectivity strategy. The group discussed China's fast-growing sports industry with attendees, along with issues like how to better integrate into China's sports market. With it, they presented a whole-new idea of extending the concept of "Internet+" into the sports sector.
Tencent Sports Boosts a Five Trillion Yuan Market via "Internet+"
Founded in 1990, Sportel is the world's most influential sports copyright summit, held in spring and autumn each year. Sportel MONACO, held in October, is the main summit which attracts global industry elites to talks about cooperation. The above-mentioned sub-forum was chaired by Xiaodong Zhu, Founder & CEO of Oceans Sports & Entertainment Inc. (Oceans Sports). Yuefeng Xie, Tencent General Manager of Sports Business Development and Marketing delivered a keynote speech about the growth of China's sports industry and Tencent Sports. the sub-forum was also attended by Albert Sim, Managing Director of Millwardbrown China, Matthew Brabants, Senior Vice President of NBA Global Media Distribution & Business Operations, and other notable guests.
Guests from left to right: Xiaodong Zhu, Founder & CEO of Oceans Sports & Entertainment Inc.; Yuefeng Xie, Tencent General Manager of Sports Business Development and Marketing; Albert Sim, Managing Director of Millwardbrown China; Matthew Brabants, Senior Vice President of NBA Global Media Distribution & Business Operations
The concept of "Internet+" is profoundly changing the growth pattern of China's sports industry. Within this trend, Tencent, as China's most influential Internet company, is both a promoter and beneficiary."Tencent hopes to transform this traditional industry in an Internet-oriented manner, contribute to online and offline convergence and create an industry chain which incorporates interactions, social networking and payment, thereby achieving ecosystem integration between the sports industry and the Internet," said Yuefeng Xie.
China's sports industry is at the eve of a new takeoff. Yuefeng Xie shared data in multiple dimensions at this sub-forum to support his conclusions -- China's GDP growth data, changes in entertainment styles in Tier 1 Chinese cities and the gap between China and developed countries in terms of the share of the sports industry in the GDP, among others, show the immense potential of China's sports industry. Also further promoting the growth of the sports industry is the Chinese government itself, as exemplified by a document released by the State Council, or China's cabinet, in October 2014. This document makes it clear that, by the end of 2025, the total size of China's sports industry will reach five trillion yuan.
The involvement and impact of the concept of "Internet+" will be the primary characteristic of the growth of China's sports industry in its new stage. Sports enthusiasts will be able to access online communication, booking and payment systems with much greater ease. Yuefeng Xie noted this sea change, stating "Tencent provides an open platform under a concept which we refer to as 'Internet+,' which is about abandoning the traditional industrial structure before taking off in the Internet age."
Albert Sim agreed, saying that "The growth of the Internet can almost be counted on as a catalyst for the sports industry." He believed that Chinese relied more heavily on smartphones than people in the rest of the world and that Tencent - which was ranked among Asia's most valuable brands and which has been ahead of Facebook on the list of the world's TOP100 valuable brands for two consecutive years - would serve as an important guarantor for the fast growth of China's sports industry. Nodding to this reality, Matthew Brabants said that "Tencent is a very unique company." He believed that Tencent's strategy and achievements deserved close study and would be helpful for the rest of the world.
Tencent Sports has been among the most compelling forces in China's sports industry in recent years, becoming one of China's most active and most influential sports platforms. In early 2015, Tencent Sports signed an exclusive cooperation agreement with NBA for five consecutive seasons, thus becoming the latter's sole official digital media partner in China. The deal caused a global sensation, standing out as a significant moment in the history of the NBA's copyright cooperation. Moreover, Tencent is the exclusive Internet partner of the Chinese Olympic Committee and has been authorized to broadcast matches of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, NFL, CBA, Chinese Super League and many other partners. Tencent is trying to deepen and broaden the sports business in new ways under the concept of "Internet+", thereby forming a complete "Internet+Sports" ecosystem, greatly expanding China's sports industry and accelerating its growth.
Tencent Has Set a Benchmark for New Sports Media with a Louder Voice Worldwide
China's burgeoning sports industry is in urgent need of new driving forces, and new media is definitely one of them. As the leader in China's Internet sector, Tencent provides the largest-scale and the most popular Internet services in this country. QQ and WeChat, for example, have over 800 and 600 million active users respectively. In addition to having the largest number of users, Tencent continues to attend various sports exhibitions and conventions, such as the international ones held this year in the United Kingdom and Singapore, in order to seek even more high-quality resources in the sports industry.
Today, Tencent Sports has not only become one of the most active participants in the world's most important industry events, but is also the preferred partner for the NBA and FIFA World Cup, as well as other prominent brands. Tencent Sports works under the connectivity strategy, showing a remarkable innovative power. After securing a large amount of excellent event resources on an exclusive basis, Tencent Sports has not confined itself to the conventional live broadcast format for sporting events, but has rather been proactively playing the role of connector in Internet-oriented matters.
Take NBA games, which are most popular in China, for example. Tencent Sports broadcasts over 1,500 games each season by means such as www.qq.com, v.qq.com and the Tencent Sports app, meaning their audience is no longer passive in their choice of which games to watch. By accessing QQ, WeChat, Qzone and other social networking platforms, basketball fans are able to enjoy interactive game watching characterized by "Watch and play." Tencent Sports also relies on its powerful resources to integrate sports, entertainment, gaming and e-commerce resources while continuously improving the Tencent Sports Community. It has been working with NBA and Nike to produce derivative programs such as "Rise Beyond", which is a reality show. It has also invited sports stars like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Klay Thompson and Dwight Howard to visit the site and interact with fans.
In addition to allowing people to connect with globally-renowned sporting events, like NBA matches and the FIFA World Cup, Tencent Sports has created close connections between themselves and fitness/health. It has been benefiting consumers via big data. "For the future, our goal is to use Internet technology and resources to realize connections with sporting events, sports services and individual health and build a complete, organic community so as to achieve a win-win situation for ourselves and the whole industry," said Yuefeng Xie. With the "Connect all" advantage of the Internet, Tencent Sports is not only able to bring a better experience to sports enthusiasts and greater benefits to industry players, but is also able to attract non-enthusiasts into the world of sports, thus becoming a connector for expanding the sports industry. This will produce a "catfish effect" on the takeoff of China's sports industry, energizing the entire industry.
Brabants has noticed changes in China's sports industry and new sports media. During this sub-forum, he plainly stated the situation: "If you are paying attention to what is happening in China, you will know that it will ultimately outperform any other country in terms of development." Xiaodong Zhu agrees with him. As Founder and CEO of Oceans Sports, a China-leading sports marketing firm, he has shifted his company from light-asset event consulting toward event operation and business development characterized by high inputs/outputs. Oceans Sports has thus taken the lead in eliminating capital bottlenecks in the industry and proven the market growth potential of China's sports industry.
Tencent's social networking-specific advantages and capacities in terms of channel coverage and liquidity have been fully demonstrated by its cooperation with NBA. It is clear the NBA made the right decision in collaborating with the company, allowing Brabants to seize on the uptrend and characteristics of the Chinese market via Tencent Sports.
Through its presence at Sportel MONACO 2015, Tencent Sports let the world's sports copyright sector gain a deep understanding of the strengths and prospects of the leader in China's sports industry. Tencent generated nothing short of a sensation at the summit, making waves in the global sports industry. This positive reception indicates that China's sports industry is very attractive to international events and capital. It also shows that China's new media, represented by Tencent Sports, is becoming a bigger voice in the world's sports copyright sector.
SOURCE Tencent Sports