Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Author: Zhang Luping

Number of characters: 3734 characters

Suggested reading time: 17 minutes

The automobile is the crown jewel of industrial civilization, just as the Olympic Games are to global sports. On November 22, Olympic athlete Zeng Wenhui, Asian Games champion Zhang Jie and teammate Lan Junyi represented the Chinese skateboarding team and came to the global headquarters of BYD in Pingshan, Shenzhen, to experience the unique demeanor of the leader of new energy vehicles. None of them have a driver's license yet, but their heartfelt love for BYD cars, as well as their profound observations and rich feelings, can't help but remind people of the saying that skateboarding and car culture go hand in hand.

BYD is the third top partner of the Chinese skateboarding team. For enterprises, the Olympic Games and the national team are undoubtedly the commanding heights of the sports marketing market, and becoming the top sponsor of the Olympic national team is not only the need for corporate brand building, but also a symbol of strength and status, but the choice of sports is a science.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

From a sports perspective, sponsorship is a process of selection. 2023 is a small year for sports in the non-football World Cup and non-Olympic Games, the sponsorship market is not shocked, and the memory of the big money is still in the two Olympic Games in the past two years. However, the Chinese skateboarding team has been upset one after another. In June, China's insurance giant PICC Group quietly joined hands with the Chinese skateboarding team to become the highest-level partner, which is the latest reaction of the eldest son of the new Chinese insurance industry in the face of industry competition in the context of the industry rival Ping An of China successively titled the Chinese Super League, Chinese Life deeply cultivated basketball, and China Taibao bound the Chinese women's volleyball team. During the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September, the Chinese skateboarding team welcomed BYD, the world's leader in new energy vehicles, and FILA FUSION. Indeed, the population size and industrial volume of skateboarding are not comparable with the three major balls, but under the appeal of brand youth, the youth, trend and fashion tone of skateboarding make the choice of Chinese People's Insurance Company, BYD and FILA FUSION coincide with the choice of the International Olympic Committee. What is striking is that on the Fortune 2023 list of the world's top 500, Chinese ranks 120th and BYD ranks 212th.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Top sponsor of the Chinese skateboarding team

Spanning three major areas

According to statistics, there are only a handful of top sponsors of the National Association and the national team this year, the more conspicuous ones are the Chinese track and field team× FAW Pentium, the Chinese synchronized swimming team× Jiumu Group, the Chinese diving team × Wanjiale, the Chinese badminton team× China Telecom, the Chinese cycling team× DHL, the Chinese table tennis team× China Post, the Chinese weightlifting team × Anhui Heli. The Chinese skateboarding team, which is affiliated with the Chinese Roller Skating Association, has three top sponsors within a year, spanning the three major fields of finance, automobiles and fashion clothing, which is also a very rare phenomenon in the history of sports sponsorship. Skateboarding has become one of the most trendy and reputable new big IPs in Chinese sports.

This is no accident. Compared with the three major sports, track and field, badminton and table tennis, skateboarding was only included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the International Olympic Committee in 2016. Taking the Chinese skateboarding team as an example, Li Yujuan is 20 years old, Lan Junyi is 19 years old, Zeng Wenhui is 18 years old, and the other core team members Cui Chenxi, Mao Jiasi, Zhang Jie, and Chen Ye are not yet adults, and a large number of primary school-age children have emerged. Chinese People's Insurance, BYD and FILA FUSION are willing to face up to reality and move closer to market trends without hesitation, and there are solid numbers as a basis. According to a survey by an authoritative department, China's skateboarding population has increased rapidly by 6 million after the Tokyo Olympics, and according to the "2023 Sports and Outdoor Apparel Industry User Insight Report" recently released by Xiaohongshu, skateboarding ranks eleventh in terms of the scale of clothing consumption driven by sports, between tennis and skiing. Also, in the 2022 trend sports popularity growth index ranking, skateboarding (and Lu Chong) ranked first.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the topic of skateboarding Weibo exceeded 100 million, the Weibo reading volume of "Star Shine Paris Dream Olympics, Chinese Skateboarding Starts Again" was nearly 100 million, and the Weibo reading volume of "Wang Yibo helps China's skateboarding new journey" was 330 million. During the Hangzhou Asian Games, 15-year-old Chen Ye and 13-year-old Cui Chenxi successively appeared on the hot search as "the youngest champion in the history of the Chinese Asian Games", and led by the People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency, triggered a panoramic three-dimensional report by the national mainstream media.

Now, whether or not skateboarding and whether or not skateboarding can be talked about has become a criterion for judging whether a person is trendy or not, which somewhat expresses the fact that the IOC's permanent inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics is a wise decision. The banner of the youthful brand of the Olympic Games has been partially transferred to skateboarders. If you look at skateboarding as a niche sport, you're outdated.

The three top partners of the Chinese skateboarding team have their own marketing concepts, but as mature enterprises, they certainly have no bad appreciation for sports sponsorship. Chinese People's Insurance has always been the strategy of holding high and only taking the head, it is the official partner of the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2022 Winter Olympics, and has also signed Gu Ailing, Yang Qian, Sui Wenjing/Han Cong as personal endorsements, the current F1 China's first person Zhou Guanyu in the contract period, in 2023 to choose to hold hands skateboarding (and roller skating) The primary appeal is to promote the rejuvenation of the brand, the trend leadership of skateboarding, the family coverage of roller skating, has become the best choice.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

If Chinese Insurance is a frequent visitor to major sports events and competitive sports, BYD is the debut of competitive sports. BYD has made frequent moves in the field of pan-sports, such as signing a contract with the China Canoe Association to become a strategic partner of the "Dragon Boat Entering the Olympics", supporting the "Xuanzang Road" Business School Gobi Challenge and university campus road running, e-sports activities, etc., and signing a contract with the Chinese skateboarding team to achieve a great leap towards the Olympic Games. The spirit of skateboarding's fearless challenge is highly consistent with BYD's brand proposition of moving forward, and at the same time, it can also inject youthful vitality into the brand. Everything fell into place.

 As for FILA, it has a century-old sports DNA, and its shareholder Anta has already forged a fruitful marketing path by sponsoring the Chinese Olympic Committee, the Chinese Olympic delegation and many Olympic events. FILA FUSION, a trendy sports brand under FILA, is inspired by skateboarding and baseball, and interprets a dress style that is more in line with the lifestyle and trend attitude of young people today, which is a match made in heaven with skateboarding.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Competitive skateboarding and street skateboarding

Positive interactions

Sponsor the market's 2023 skateboard "ollie", which is the flower of competitive skateboarding. Although street skateboarding is the source of China's story, in terms of organization, street skateboarding and competitive skateboarding, the representative of the Chinese skateboarding team, have little to do with each other, let alone inheritance. Because competitive skateboarding takes the road of cross-border material selection.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

The development of the Chinese skateboarding team is best illustrated by Zeng Wenhui. She currently has two personal endorsements, Red Bull and Oakley. From the perspective of athletes' individual achievements, Zeng Wenhui, who was born in martial arts, is a historical figure, and he may still create new breakthroughs. Her sixth place finish in the women's street at the Tokyo Olympics was more than the gold medal at the Asian Games, which became a major event in the history of Chinese skateboarding. If previously prestigious skaters such as Yuan Fei, Tian Jun, and Chen Long were street players, then Zeng Wenhui was a product of typical competitive sports, and the two groups formed a benign interaction.

Under the pressure of a late start and no inheritance, finding a unique development path for a new national system is the key to skateboarding. In 2017, the Social Sports Center of the General Administration of Sports set up the Chinese skateboarding team, with the basic idea of cross-border material selection, and in the form of a national club, the Community Sports Center entrusted the overall operation of the company, and the provinces sent the seedlings to Nanjing, the base camp of the General Administration of Sports, and the provincial and municipal sports bureaus shared the training costs, and the Guanao Baode also obtained certain benefits through market development. Guangdong Zeng Wenhui, Guangxi Lan Junyi, and Shanxi Mao Jiasi are essentially produced by Guanao Baode.

In the Paris Olympic cycle, institutional innovation has been further deepened, and the leading role of the Social Sports Center of the General Administration of Sports of China has been continuously strengthened. Specifically, in three aspects, first, in the management system, Feng Lianshi, director of the community sports center, concurrently serves as the chairman of the Chinese Roller Skating Association, and Wei Yong, director of the comprehensive business and anti-doping department of the community sports center, concurrently serves as the secretary general of the Chinese Roller Skating Association, which has changed the free state of the association; Cui Chenxi has been training in Japan for a long time; third, the local government has emphasized investment, and Cui Chenxi in Shandong and Zhang Jie in Guizhou have come to the fore, and even in Shandong, there has been a crowding of talents of the same age.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Since Chen Ye became an instant hit, the Chen family's cultivation model has been widely reported and even appreciated by the media. Chen Wanqin is an obsessive father, because his children like it, he starts a desperate family dream journey. Many people lamented that compared with Chen Wanqin, he may be ashamed of being a father. But there is no doubt that athletes will only achieve greater achievements if they are integrated into the national system, and completely handing over Chen Ye to the country is the only choice. After all, in China, once a sport is made into an Olympic Games, the national system is the real way out. Of course, skateboarding's street DNA dictates that it must be permanent on the streets, and the skatepark built by 8 MILES Skateboarding Club in Beijing in the avant-garde landmark Blue Harbor is quite symbolic.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

A skateboarding event that focuses on the streets

Immerse yourself in the lives of trendy people

It's a good idea to take the event to the streets. Driven by the national team, in 2023, skateboarding events focusing on "streets" will gradually become a climate. The Weibo Skateboarding Classic hosted by Sina Sports was held in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Kunming and Beijing, with more than 40 clubs across the country participating in the competition, and 700 skaters participated; the X GAMES CHINA 2023 Skateboarding U Pool Tour organized by REnextop was held in Changsha, Kunming and Beijing, building a top-level event platform for Chinese fashion sports enthusiasts; Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Chengdu, as well as city clubs, also regularly hold various competitions. An important phenomenon is the positive interaction between skateboarding events and urban business districts. Joy City, Wanda Plaza and other iconic commercial plazas have become the home of skateboarding competitions, which not only attract skateboarders to actively participate, but also shape the trend tone of the business district, and the encouragement and support of skateboarding competitions in the business district have given birth to more skateboarding families and skateboarders. Such a "two-way run" has amplified the influence of skateboarding.

Throughout the year, the exposure of skaters and brands in first- and second-tier cities is guaranteed, the basic audience continues to expand, and the "persona" of the project remains stable, fearless and positive, which can trigger the emotional resonance between the project, the public and the brand. Relying on the appeal of the project itself, releasing the value and charm of the brand, and integrating its own proposition and spirit into the life of trendy people, that is the true meaning of sports marketing.

Skateboarding is taking the craze: Why is China's skateboarding team the darling of top sponsors?

Of course, for sponsors, the core focus is still on the Paris Olympics. Compared with Tokyo, the key Chinese project in Paris is still the women's street style, Zeng Wenhui, Cui Chenxi, Lan Junyi and others will embark on the journey of the points competition. On the positive side, the most important leg of the Olympic Qualification Tournament will be held in Shanghai from 16 to 19 May 2024. The Shanghai event also includes BMX freestyle, rock climbing and breakdancing.

As a skateboard for emerging projects, there is the ambition to control the future and the anxiety of the unknown, there is the confrontation between guarding the circle and breaking the circle, and there is also a consensus of mutual integration, no matter how confident you are in your own logical system, you have to admit that only the market is the real bridge connecting different subjects. After the breakdown in national team sponsorship, the next stage of development will focus on the impact of events, especially street events, which will require more pragmatic policies and sustained efforts.

As for the skateboarding industry, although it has formed an orderly business chain, such as training, equipment manufacturing and event operation, from an economic point of view, it is still in the initial stage of operation centered on the first generation of skaters, and the related enterprises and the entire industry are not large. That's another topic, more on that later.

The picture in this article comes from Xinhuanet and the Internet

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