Tencent Sport aims to create China's version of Super Bowl
Two teams competing in the 2018 Super Penguin Ultimate Game pose for a group photo at the Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai, Sept. 15, 2018. [Photo courtesy of Tencent Sport]
The head of operations at Tencent Sport has revealed the company has a dream to create a Chinese version of Super Bowl event, combining sports and entertainment, after the huge success of the 2018 Super Penguin Ultimate Game in Shanghai on Sept. 15.
The atmosphere was electric in the city's Oriental Sports Center for the highlight basketball event. A full house of 15,000 people packed the venue, the tickets being sold out one week in advance.
The online live stream of the event attracted an audience of more than 31 million, and users published more than 320,000 comments about it on various platforms. The sponsorship was also first class, with Nike and Beijing Hyundai, Hennessy, Jordan, NBA2K Online and Spalding all on board.
The 2018 Super Penguin Ultimate Game is third annual celebrity basketball game organized by Tencent. This year, a glittering lineup of professional players, pop singers, actors and comedians, including former NBA players Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh, joined seventeen of China's top celebrities such as pop idol Kris Wu and two Chinese professional basketball players.
The game also featured a halftime performance from Rocket Girls 101, an eleven-member pop group from the Chinese reality show Produce 101.
"From the very beginning, we just felt that China lacks professional sports and there are not enough games," Zhao Guochen, general manager of operations at Tencent Sport said. "We designed this crossover event at this time to enable more people to experience the fun of basketball, and now we are going much deeper to create brand new stuff and a brand new market."
Super Penguin was initiated in 2016 as the original invention by Tencent Sport, adopting the international highest standards in all aspects. This year's game, based on summing up the experience from the previous two editions, was a fully-upgraded version, transforming from one annual celebrity game to a 16-team league with a Super Bowl-like finale.
"I hope to use the variety show approach to popularize this game," Zhao said, "This year it has been upgraded from a single event to a league. It is a stage for both basketball players and entertainment idols to show their real and passionate side, a stage for the current trend of China, and a stage for commercial customers. It is now more and more like the Super Bowl. Yes, our dream is to make it become China's Super Bowl."
This year's game was configured to reach the international top level, the same as the NBA Finals in the US. It was streamed live in Dolby Vision HDR via Tencent Video and was accessible to Tencent Video Super VIP users in China with select Dolby Vision-enabled TVs. This makes Tencent Video the world's first OTT content service provider to deliver a live Dolby Vision experience. At the same time, ESPN also broadcast the game globally in multiple languages, a rare treatment for a China's domestic-made game.
According to Zhao, in the future, the Super Penguin game will continue to be upgraded. It will also integrate campus and community events, so that more ordinary people can join the league with the opportunity to appear at the Super Penguin Ultimate Game.
The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be hosted in China as the first world-class competition to be held in the country since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and will make basketball the focus of China's sports industry. Super Penguin could serve as the forerunner for promotion of Chinese national sports in general, and a warm-up for the FIBA event, Zhao said.
From his observation, sports could represent an upgrade in Chinese consumption in the future, following the rapid growth and breakthrough internationally of the local film industry. "On the basis of this consumption upgrade, we can expand the market for sports events," he added.
(Source_title：Tencent Sport aims to create China's version of Super Bowl)