Lakers and Curry Top NBA Social Media Charts in China; National Women’s Hockey League games will be televised live in the U.S. for the first time; and Juventus renews its jersey sponsorship with Jeep. For these stories and more, check out the Red Phoenix Global Sports Update:

Lakers and Curry Top NBA Social Media Charts in China

According to the latest Mailman Red Card Report, the Los Angeles Lakers were China’s most popular team in 2020. The Lakers jumped up from third, with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets dropping to second and third place, respectively. The Warriors’ Stephen Curry took the title for the most popular NBA player. Mailman’s report is comprised of data from social media giants, Weibo and Douyin. Full Story Sports Business (01/04)

NBC to Air NWHL Finals, Adds to Banner Year for Women’s Sports 

National Women’s Hockey League games will be televised live in the U.S. for the first time. NBC Sports will air the Isobel Cup semifinals and final in early February, making it the first time women’s professional hockey is shown live on a widely distributed, major U.S. cable network. 2020 was a banner year for professional women’s sports, in general. National Women’s Soccer League’s television viewership grew by 500%, WNBA viewership grew across all networks by 38%, and Women’s hockey saw its largest sponsorship deal ever in a $1 million deal. Full Story NBC Sports and FOS  (12/23)

Michael Jordan Scores Partial Win over Naming Rights in China

Basketball legend Michael Jordan has won a lawsuit in Shanghai over his image rights in China. The Court ruled that Qiadoan Sports must issue a public apology in newspapers and on the Internet to clarify the relationship between the parties. Qiadoan must also stop using the Chinese characters of “Qiaodan” in its corporate name and must cease using Qiaodan trademarks except for those that exceed the 5-year statute of limitations. Qiaodan is also required to pay Jordan 300,000 RMB for emotional damages and 50,000 RMB for legal expenses. Full Story Sports Business (01/03)

Jeep to Pay Juventus $55M per Season in Jersey Sponsorship

The world-famous soccer club Juventus extended their jersey sponsorship with Jeep. The club will receive $55 million per season through the 2023-2024 season. Juventus already earns over $100 million per season from Jeep and brand sponsor Adidas. The German sportswear company will pay the club a base rate of 51 million euros ($62 million) per season through 2026-27. Full Story Yahoo Sports (12/29)

McCann China Partners with Alibaba for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Campaign

Alibaba has appointed McCann China as its creative partner for the Olympics campaign, covering marketing, communications, and creative services for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Alibaba holds a 12-year partnership deal with the Olympics. For the Beijing 2022 campaign, the agency plans to feature touching stories of ordinary people and how the Olympic Games play a meaningful role in their lives. The campaign will introduce stories of various technological advancements and how they contribute to society and humanity’s development. Full Story BM Global (01/04)

Reliance Buys IMG from Indian Joint Venture

Indian’s Reliance Industries (RIL) has agreed to buy out IMG Worldwide LLC from their sports management joint venture.  The nation’s largest company by market value said it would buy IMG Worldwide’s 50% stake for Rs 52.08 crore ($7.1 million). RIL plans to rebrand the company after the closure of the deal. IMG-R is engaged in the creation, management, implementation, sports, fashion, and entertainment events in India. Full Story Sports Business (01/03)

Korean Baseball Star Ha-Seong Kim Signs with San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres have signed South Korean All-Star infielder Ha-Seong Kim to a four-year contract. The Padres officially announced the signing last Thursday. Kim’s Seoul-based agency, A-Spec Corp., said he would make $28 million over those four seasons, with a signing bonus worth another $4 million. The 25-year-old played seven seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization before joining the MLB.  The Padres also recently made a splash by trading for Japanese ace pitcher Yu Darvish. Full Story Korean Times (01/01)

Kawasaki Frontale Caters Live-Match Thrills to Wider Audiences

Japan’s J-League club, Kawasaki Frontale, has been opening up their home ground, Todoroki Stadium, to fans who might otherwise be daunted by the lights, noise, and crowds. Fans with developmental disorders were able to watch a live match at Todoroki from Japan’s first sensory room, a temporary facility created by three companies, including Frontale’s parent company, Fujitsu Ltd, and the Kawasaki municipal government. The club plans to hold these events at least once a year inside Todoroki Stadium. Full Story  Kyodo News (12/31)

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