This week, a contingent from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) will travel to Beijing, China, along with key Canadian corporate partners, to host the inaugural Canada-China Sports Business Summit. MLSE and Canadian industry experts will share insights and expertise with more than 150 Chinese corporate and government officials as they make the growth of the sports industry in China a national priority.
The Canada-China Sports Business Summit will take place at Beijing National Stadium, also known as ‘the Bird’s Nest’, on Friday, November 13. The Bird’s Nest was the signature venue as Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, and will be again in 2022 as China’s capital hosts the Winter Olympics.
“The world has become much smaller in recent years, and with it, the global sports industry has become much more collaborative,” said Dave Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer at MLSE. “Our experiences working with corporate and government partners in China over the years has been both successful and eye opening. Our teams already have a number of strong partnerships with Chinese corporations and this Canada-China Business Summit is an opportunity to bring people in the business on opposite sides of the globe together to share expertise and learn.”
In addition to the MLSE contingent and Canadian corporate leaders from BMO, Under Armour, S&E Sponsorship Group, Behaviour Inc. and IMI International, Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade Michael Chan and Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid will participate in the summit.
City officials from Beijing and Zhangjiakou will represent the Chinese government at the summit. The two cities will co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics, with Beijing hosting the ‘ice’ events and Zhangjiakou hosting the ‘snow’ events. The summit will also see strong representation from more than 80 Chinese companies, including Lenovo, Alibaba, Greenland, Vanke, Wanda, Hisense, Huawei, TCL and Aeolus Tire.
“We are extremely delighted to welcome MLSE, and their corporate partners, to Beijing to host the inaugural Canada-China Sports Business Summit,” said Yin Tiegang, Executive Vice President of Future Advertising. “With Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022, the insights from Canadian sports experts in the areas of sports sales and marketing, fan engagement, and hosting world-class events will be most welcome.”
In the past few years, MLSE’s work in China has resulted in Toronto Raptors games being broadcast on CCTV5, Maple Leafs games broadcast on CCTV5+ and Toronto FC games seen on LeTV in China. MLSE has also hosted hockey camps in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai. MLSE currently has four global partnerships with Chinese companies including Huawei, Alcatel Onetouch, Asus and Aeolus Tire.
Famous Chinese athletes Yao Ming (former NBA star, owner of the Shanghai Sharks of the CBA), Chen Lu (first Chinese figure skating Olympics medalist and first figure skating World Champion) and Gao Leilei (first Chinese player in Major League Soccer) will also participate in the summit as well as movie director Ying Da who serves as honorary president of the Beijing Hockey Association