Alibaba’s Tmall has become the latest official senior partner of the Chinese Super League (CSL) for the next 5 years, while Shankai Sports will be the exclusive sales agent for CSL licensed products, the CSL Company, Tmall and Shankai Sports jointly announced at a press conference on September 12th in Beijing.
The five-year partnership is the latest step for the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace to implement its strategic goal of Health and Happiness.
Li Yuyi, Vice-President of Chinese Football Association and Chairman of CSL Company, Jing Jie, President of Tmall, Liu Bo, general manager of Tmall platform operation, Feng Tao, CEO of Shankai Sports, Yu Dabao, captain of Beijing Sinobo Guoan Football Club and actress Jiang Yiyi were just some of the VIPs present at the press conference.
CSL, run by the CSL Company under the Chinese Football Association, is the top division of professional football in China and dubbed the “No.1 sports IP in China”. The league’s reputation has grown significantly in recent years with an influx of high-profile foreign players. In Asia, CSL has leapfrogged Japan’s J1 League and South Korea’s K League 1 to become the most-watched football league in the region. Over 5.7 million people attended CSL matches in 2017. The average attendance of 23,700 ranked fifth across the world. A total of 434 million people have watched CSL television broadcasts. CSL games are broadcast in 96 countries.
Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C platform, promotes two core values: the upgrade of consumption and digitization of retailers. Since health and sports have turned into a major target of consumption for Chinese youths, Tmall took advantage of the high-profile CSL IP to drive its strategy of Health and Happiness. In return for the partnership, Tmall enjoys use of the title “Senior Partner of CSL”, pitch-side LED advertising rights, media and marketing rights, and other benefits.
Shankai Sports was instrumental in connecting CSL and Tmall and facilitating the sponsorship. As part of the deal, Shankai will become the exclusive operator of the official authorized CSL flagship Tmall store, the best place to buy CSL and its 16 clubs’ licensed products. Shankai, the sports marketing company that has grown into a major force in China’s sports industry, is dedicated to helping maximize CSL’s commercial value in the future.
Li Yuyi, Vice-President of Chinese Football Association and Chairman of CSL Company, thanked CSL for its trust and support. Li said,“The partnership is not only an extension of CSL business but also a shift in the way of development. It is an important undertaking to raise the CSL brand, expanding business operations onto the internet and providing better services to clubs and sponsors. We would also like to thank Shankai for connecting Tmall with CSL. The tie-up will enable CSL and the clubs to establish online sales of merchandise, lifting CSL’s commercial value in e-commerce.”
“There are 500 million consumers on Tmall. The partnership with CSL is a great opportunity for Tmall to establish itself in the Chinese football industry. We will maximize CSL’s impact and commercial value, to drive the development of Chinese football. We look forward to opening up more business opportunities with CSL,” said Jing Jie, President of Tmall.
Shankai Sports is well known for its success in sports marketing and sports travel. Feng Tao, CEO of Shankai, said, “The new titles, Exclusive Sales Agent for CSL Licensed Products and Operator of CSL Flagship Tmall Store, will enable Shankai to expand into ‘New Retail’. The partnership shows that Shankai is committed to connecting Chinese companies with high-profile domestic IP,” Feng continued, “The tie-up between China’s most-watched sports property and the world’s biggest e-commerce platform will certainly invigorate Chinese sports.”