2019 Tour de France Škoda Shanghai Critérium, an international cycling competition, was held at the China Art Museum on 15 and 16 November 2019. The Tour de France champion Egan Bernal for the year 2019, a three-time Grand Slam champion Vincenzo Nibali, and a four-time Tour de France champion Christopher Froome, along with other Tour de France stars, including five world-class cycling teams and 7 outstanding local teams, participated in the event. With outstanding ability, Caleb Ewan took the lead and was crowned the champion of Tour de France Shanghai.
In 1903, the first Tour de France was held in France. The event has a history of more than 100 years and is regarded as the most prestigious event in the cycling world. In 2017, Tour de France took place in China for the first time. For the past three years, it has been held in Changsha, Beijing, Zhuji and Shanghai. Domestic and foreign, professionals and amateur cyclists as well as the public have already enjoyed Tour de France. With the support of the local municipal governments in China and partners, Tour de France in China has been held in Zhuji and Changsha, where 4,000 people participated in the closed-loop cycling event and thus broke the record of attendance. The brand of the Tour de France has been gaining traction in China as the event combines the elements of sports and entertainment with the participation of the world’s top cyclists.
Tour de France intellectual property (“IP”) combines elements of sports and entertainment as a model for sports event marketing
In recent years, an intellectual property-based operating model has been adopted in sports event marketing. In that operating model, sports events are at the core of the marketing content while the participants and audience alike can enjoy various forms of entertainment during the experiential marketing. The markets for intellectual property (“IP”) and brands can thus be developed. Taking the 2019 Tour of Shanghai as an example, domestic amateur cyclists can compete with top professional cyclists.
Fans can participate in a public relations photo shoot before the game and wear personalized Tour de France yellow jerseys. The Tour de France brand has attracted a large audience, allowing them to experience the charm of Tour de France. Such experiences have formed a unique and innovative product in the intellectual property-based operating model for marketing. At the same time, the professional cyclists try their hand at singing Peking Opera, and are taken to the streets to taste traditional breakfasts in a place where Tour de France is held.
Moreover, a series of retro products of Tour de France and the products of the cycling event that have been adapted to local cultures of the places where the event has been held have also been launched. These activities can promote a cultural exchange between international professional cyclists and the locals of the places where the event is held, thus expanding the market for intellectual property of Tour de France. The ingeniously personalized service to the Tour de France contestants allows them to fully enjoy their participation in the event and, at the same time, enables Tour de France to grip the host country.
The top international French sports company and Tour de France planner, Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.) has actively promoted the globalization of the Tour de France brand in recent years. This is aligned with the IP marketing concept of the Activation Group. The two parties have cooperated since 2017 to promote the Tour de France IP in China. Tour de France held in Changsha in 2017, Beijing, Shanghai and Zhuji at the beginning of the year has, in turn, earned its host cities fame and plentiful business opportunities.
It is reported that an experience center for cycling will be opened in Zhuji in 2020. It will be positioned as a first-of-its-kind “one-stop, multi-functional, outdoor cycling tour service center”, which will be complemented by the official cycling routes and themed homestays. With its strong sense of market, Activation Group has explored the integration of the Tour de France with mass consumption, enabling cyclists and sports enthusiasts to enjoy entertainment as a part of their lives.
In addition to the experience center for cycling in Zhuji, Activation Group has also announced another new strategy for Tour de France IP under which a bicycle-themed TV series “Legendary of Cycling” will be produced. As the first TV drama of its kind in China, “Legendary of Cycling” combines such elements as youth, inspirations, deduction and cycling. The production of the TV series scheduled to start in 2020. Real-time and on-the-spot shots of a Tour de France event will be included in the TV drama. For both the Tour de France brand and Activation Group, the innovative and pragmatic IP-based operating model for marketing will open up a new and sustainable consumer market.
Revolutionizing the traditional business model of the industry and unlocking the huge potential of the market for sports and entertainment IP
As an integrated marketing specialist in Greater China, Activation Group provides experiential marketing, digital marketing, branding and public relations services, and aims to expand the Chinese market for sports and entertainment IP. Activation Group and Amaury Sport Organization reached an agreement in 2016 under which the former was authorized by the latter to exclusively host the Tour de France ŠKODA China Critérium for 11 years. The income from this unique sports IP-based business model is generated from the sponsors of the Tour de France, media affiliates, ticket sales revenue, the royalties of the surrounding merchandise sales, the TV and online broadcast revenues, and the subsidies from local Chinese municipal governments due to the role played by Activation Group in boosting business of the local hotel and tourism industries.
A similar business model has also been applied to Activation Group’s another IP project, LaLiga. Activation Group has obtained the exclusive rights to operate the LaLiga club brand for ten years since 2016. The projects being planned include the opening of the LaLiga Experience Center, inviting the LaLiga team to assist in the youth training program and the production of the online drama “The Emergence of First Love”, etc. The aim is to construct a 360-degree high-end football experience platform. The LaLiga Club, designed by Activation Group, will organize visits by LaLiga coaches and stars, reality shows and set up experience centers.
The club will also use technologies for interactive experiences such as augmented reality (“AR”) and virtual reality (“VR”) and mobile applications to expand business, sell derivative products and even organize competitions and form teams for club members and assist in arranging a league championship, etc. By using the internationally-renowned LaLiga’s resources to further expand the Group’s sports and entertainment IP business, Activation Group is well-positioned to tap the huge potential of the market.
Mr. Steve Lau Kam Yiu, Co-chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Activation Group, said, “Capturing the attention and admiration of cycling fans around the world in China is exhilarating. Activation Group is proud to introduce Tour de France, an internationally renowned sporting event to China. We are also excited bringing in sports and entertainment IP into the Group. The success of attaining the rights to host regional competitions for two major international sporting competitions not only indicated the recognition and trust by our partners but also our strength and experience in launching sporting events of international level. Activation Group’s global and strategic outlook, its collaborations with future partners in new Chinese regions, along with the joining of sports and entertainment IP, demonstrate impressive prospects for the business.”
Activation Group’s integrated marketing services continue to create and enhance brand value for customers. Customers can benefit from the Group’s rich experience in marketing, digital marketing, brand promotion and public relations services. Activation Group has a strong international luxury brand customer base, an impressive track record and rich industry experience. On this basis, the Group’s IP business can expect to expand its operations of international IP which, in turn, can result in synergy and rapid growth of its IP services.
Not limiting itself to sports IP, Activation Group also grasps the opportunity to develop an entertainment IP. In 2019, Activation Group and the international entertainment production company, Stufish Productions, jointly established Stufish Asia in 2017 and operated the live stunt program “Elēkrŏn” in Macau. With its innovative strategy and high-performance execution, Activation Group is the industry leader in the experiential marketing of high-end and luxury brands in Greater China. It is based in Shanghai and its strategically chosen cities of Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. Activation Group has the advantage to fully tap the market potential of Greater China and Southeast Asia.