Partnering with integrated marketing solutions provider Activation Group, A.S.O’s internationalization of the Tour de France brand has continued in China this year.
The 2019 Tour de France Škoda Shanghai Critérium, an international cycling competition, was held at Shanghai’s China Art Museum on 15-16 November 2019. The Tour de France 2019 champion Egan Bernal, as well as Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome and other Tour de France stars were in China to support the event.
Caleb Ewan was crowned the champion of this year’s Tour de France Shanghai.
In 2017, A.S.O’s Tour de France brand first entered China. For the past three years, it has been held in Changsha, Beijing, Zhuji and Shanghai. Domestic and foreign, professionals and amateur cyclists have taken in the Tour de France in mainland China.
With the support of the local municipal governments, Tour de France branded events in Zhuji and Changsha have built momentum. In Changsha, 4,000 people participated in the closed-loop cycling event, setting an attendance record.
A.S.O’s partner Activation Group notes that 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.
Activation Group adds that, in recent years, an intellectual property-based operating model has been increasingly adopted in sports event marketing. In this operating model, sports events are at the core of the marketing content – while an event’s participants and audience alike can enjoy various forms of entertainment with experiential marketing throughout the event weekend.
Taking the 2019 Tour of Shanghai as an example, domestic amateur cyclists can compete alongside top professional cyclists. Fans can participate in a public relations photo shoot before the event and wear personalized Tour de France yellow jerseys.
At the same time, professional cyclists can try their hand at singing Peking Opera, and are taken to local streets to taste traditional breakfasts in venues where Tour de France experiential events are held. In addition, a series of Tour de France retro products are adapted to local cultures of the event venues.
Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.) has actively promoted the globalization of the Tour de France brand in recent years. This is seen to be aligned with the intellectual property (IP) marketing concept of the Activation Group. The two parties have cooperated since 2017 to promote the Tour de France IP in China.
Building momentum further, it is reported that an experience centre for cycling will be opened in Zhuji in 2020. This will be positioned as a first-of-its-kind ‘one-stop, multi-functional, outdoor cycling tour service centre’, which will be complemented by official cycling routes and themed homestays.
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.’
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. The production of the TV series is scheduled to start in 2020.
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, alongside media affiliates, ticket sales revenue, royalties from associated merchandise sales, TV and online broadcast revenues, and subsidies from local Chinese municipal governments. These are received due to the role played by Activation Group in boosting the business of the local hotel and tourism industries.
Steve Lau Kam Yiu, Co-Chairman and CEO 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 the Tour de France, an internationally renowned sporting event to China. We are also excited to bring 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 an 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.”