ANJING, China, July 24, 2018 -- Suning Sports, the leading Chinese sports company owned by Suning Holdings Group ("Suning"), recently announced the completion of its Series A funding round. The lead investors are Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank and Alibaba. Other investors include Evergrande, Yunfeng Capital, SenseTime and LionRock Capital, two local government sports industry funds Zhejiang Sports Investment Fund and Jiangsu Sports Investment Fund and three bank institutions CCB International, CMBC International and ABC International.
As the top one player in Chinese sports industry, Suning Sports is engaged in four major sectors across the whole industry chain, including sports media, OTT services, sports retail and sports training. The funding marks a major step forward for Suning to strengthen its position in sports industry and further develop its whole industry chain layout to better serve sports fans and explore more opportunities in retail.
David Chou, Managing Director of Asia Special Situations Group, Goldman Sachs, said, "We are optimistic about the huge growth potential of the sports industry. We believe in Suning Sports' sharp insight into the industry and its efficient execution. With its top-tier sports event copyright resources and strong strategic integration capabilities, Suning Sports has established a leading position in the sports industry and will continue to expand its reach in the fragmented consumer scenarios with its diversified online and offline offerings."
Suning Sports is racing to expand its copyrights to air soccer matches from Europe's top leagues, including the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1, to the Chinese Super League for hundreds of millions of fans in China. Earlier this month, PP Sports, China's leading digital sports media platform and a subsidiary of Suning Sports, acquired the television and online rights to the Bundesliga for the next five seasons from 2018-19 to 2022-23. The deal marks the first time that German soccer has given its exclusive rights to a digital media company in China.
Suning Sports also owns the copyrights of other major sports events such as CFA, CSL, AFC and WWE.
In addition, Suning Sports is dedicated to producing high quality content for its subscribers, including shows, news, images and short videos. It recently announced a strategic partnership with Migu Co Ltd, an entertainment subsidiary of Chinese mobile carrier China Mobile, to collaborate in content production of sporting events, 4K product development, business expansion with mobile carrier and advertisement sales, among others.
On the other hand, Suning Sports aims to open 152 retail stores by 2020, following the opening of the first flagship store in Nanjing last December that offers full range of merchandise of legendary football clubs worldwide. The retail business has successfully strengthened the Suning Sports' brand connections with Chinese football fans. And by introducing expertise resources from both professional football clubs and youth academies, Suning Sports is also developing grassroots training programmes.
He Jin, Executive General Manager of Zhejiang Sports Investment Fund, said, "Suning Sports owns top-tier copyrights and commentary resources, knows how to turn them into excellent products and has a clear strategy to sell them. In addition to subscription and advertising revenue, it has also opened up an online-to-offline channel through sports retail and youth training."
"Based on the cross-industries ecosystem of Suning, Suning Sports will not only provide the most comprehensive experience for our users, but also boost more business opportunities for our partners," Mi Xin, Vice President of Suning Sports, added, "The Series A round completion demonstrated strong market confidence in the future development of China's sports industry. Based on this, now it has also been put on the agenda for us to embarking on the Series B funding round."