This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sourajit Aiyer. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

India Has A Lot To Learn From China In Global Sports Investments

More from Sourajit Aiyer

Sports is big business, and it is becoming even bigger, especially in China and India. While inbound investments grow into their new local franchises, these countries are now looking at outbound investments. However, the objectives of their outbound investments vary owing to a difference in priorities. China made the headlines by buying football clubs in Europe’s domestic leagues. The Chinese interest is extending to agencies and other global sports. On the other hand, India is showing interest in cricket franchises in the Caribbean, South Africa, and England. The title sponsor of the Caribbean T-20 league is an Indian company, and the owners of a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) also own a team in the Caribbean league.

Contrasting Objectives

Apart from investing in its domestic football franchises, China is connecting its outbound investments to the Chinese sports market. Disposable incomes in China have risen significantly, thereby fuelling interest in another level of sporting content. Ownership of European clubs means better chances for the Chinese players to train overseas and raise their standards.

It hopes to bring in more youth into sports and change the perception of sports as a career, which is negative in a high-population country. However, given the small size of the sports market, profits from these investments are still some time away. While advertising and ticket sales are yet to surge, the sponsorship rates of the Chinese Super League have risen rapidly. Its broadcasting rights, sold for $1.25 billion in the 2015 season, went for $1.7 billion for the next five years. If this growing local interest can eventually manifest into hosting a global sports event, then the resultant sports tourism is another upside. It is the local Chinese sports market that can help cover its investments in Europe.

India is connecting its outbound investments to foreign viewers by creating visibility for Indian brands in foreign shores. With many Indian companies turning multi-nationals, it is pushing brand-building in international markets through these viewers. Very few formats can give as much mileage to a brand as a major sports event. It helps the Indian brands get known not only in the host country, but also in other nations where that event goes. For instance, the Caribbean league also gave Indian brands visibility in the USA, where some of the matches were played. B2C or tech companies, who thrive on a large user-base, get access to a larger audience. Apart from foreign viewers, even Indian viewers get more cricket content, thus generating higher ratings. Of the 200 million viewers in the Caribbean league, around 97 million were from India. The addition of the large Indian audience also helps boost the financial interest in the investors’ bids.

China’s Objectives Hold Learnings For India

China is emerging in a sport where it didn’t have any precedence, while India is growing a sport where it already had a name. China’s ambition is impressive – because this is not just about football, but of wider strategic importance. The world’s powerful countries are all football playing nations. If China wants to cement its place further in this league of “big boys”, being a football playing nation would be a way to further drill its geopolitical branding. This could be seen as analogous to many executives learning golf because they don’t want to miss business deals struck on the golf course. Geopolitical deals amongst powerful nations are, perhaps, often struck in football galleries. But India’s objective seems to be the brand-building of its businesses, not politics. While this has wider strategic importance to improve its standing in investee countries, the number of nations playing cricket globally is less, and most of them are not the world’s powerful nations. If India also aspires to drill its position in the global geopolitical arena, should it also play football like all the “big boys”?

China is creating its future purchasing power by converting local talent into professional players and establishing local tournaments across sports which can employ thousands. While India also did the same, the number of sports and tournaments seem fewer in India. China wants sports to comprise 1% of its GDP by 2020 (up from the current 0.6%), and then gradually move to 2% like the developed nations. China has a higher savings rate than India (49% vs 30%). So its scope to transfer the savings to local consumption is higher. As the scope to transfer savings into local consumption is less in India, it is increasing the global consumption of its products through brand-building. But will this boost its local purchasing power in future as much as China?

Both China and India have committed to developing the youth through sports. Chinese President Xi Jinping himself visited Manchester City’s Football Academy. Indian Prime Minister Modi pushed the largest stadium project in Motera, but is yet to visit a major cricket establishment where India is investing. Such visits show a level of seriousness and commitment from China’s leadership, which bodes well for its investors venturing into Europe.

Important Questions Raised By China

China’s investments are following prudent practices. Many are eyeing smaller European clubs that are struggling financially but can be better-valued acquisitions. While it is not clear if India’s investments paid a high price in the Caribbean League, the prices of top players did see good hikes this year. In the domestic IPL, most franchises still bear losses even after few years. Continued losses may delay further interest in the industry.

It must also be noted that the industry does not only depend on deep-pocket corporates. China has already created Yuan-denominated sports investment funds. India also needs to diversify its funding sources in order to sustain the flow of funds.

China is moving into the football value-chain. It is targeting not just the clubs, but even the agencies that represent footballers. Fosun invested in an agency that represents Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. Indian investments extend to merchandise, which is not the same as value-chain. Not only does this help China unlock further value, but it also gives it better control over the price, supply, and quality of all the related services.

China’s post-investment strategy is to stay away from the day-to-day micromanagement. Micromanagement leads to a clash of work cultures; which is a major cause of failures in similar deals. It is too early to comment on India’s management style. Should India follow China’s hands-off style in its outbound sports investments?

China’s interest is spreading to other sports too – hitherto hardly played in China. Wanda bought Triathlon, while Alisports turned towards NFL. While India has also seen new football and hockey leagues, these sports already had some viewership, albeit relatively small. Can sports that are not played in India increase the novelty factor and help bump up the incremental viewership?

In conclusion, both the countries are making concentrated efforts in outbound investments in global sports. But in order to ensure that its investments yield higher and sustained value, India might have some learning to do from China.

This article was first published here

Image source: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Sourajit Aiyer

Similar Posts

By Saira Nikhat

By Olipriya Roy

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below