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ASIA -- THE NEXT BOOM FOR SPORTS MARKETING
Published August 1, 1995
The current issue of BUSINESS WEEK examines the seemingly "endless" sports marketing opportunities in Asia. BUSINESS WEEK notes, "Now, with the arrival of global sports promoters such as IMG and 24-hour sports stations, once genteel pastimes such as badminton, cricket, and table tennis are rushing into big-bucks competition." Companies such as Yonex Corp. are paying $2M to be exclusive supplier for Indonesia's national badminton team. MasterCard, Pepsi, Gillette, and Canon have all signed four-year, $2.6M deals to sponsor Asian soccer. Nike has become equipment supplier to soccer and basketball teams in China and has started a series of basketball tournaments for mainland teenagers. The piece states, "With government control of the media tight throughout emerging Asia, sponsoring nationally televised sports is the easiest, cheapest way to reach Asia's ballooning middle class of more than 250 million." New sports channels are also "raising the financial stakes." Rupert Murdoch's Prime Sports, part of his Star TV Asian staellite Tv network, is paying an estimated $4M annually to carry badminton, and is believed to be paying $1M for Chinese soccer. ESPN also plans to be "beaming satellite signals around the clock" in Asia by year end. ESPN recently outbid Murdoch for rights to Indian cricket with a reported $3M over five years. IMG is not the only agency taking advantage of the opportunities in Asia. Hong Kong's Asia Sport Group is working to link up federations around Asia to stage regional tournaments. IMG Managing Dir/Asia Breck McCormack: "There is no shortage of opportunities. It's a question of where to focus your resources" (Engardio, Shari, et al, BUSINESS WEEK, 8/7 issue).