Why understanding diplomacy is the No.1 rule for navigating the Chinese sports market (a Chinese perspective on the Rockets/NBA fallout)
On 13 September 2019, the author was privileged to discuss the topic of sports diplomacy on a distinguished panel entitled “Diplomacy, Exploring the Relationship between Sports, Global Politics and the Law”, at the 5th annual LawInSport Conference held in London. Though our time on the panel to dissect such a complex issue was limited, the author appreciated the opportunity to touch upon the pivotal role of diplomacy in shaping the sport sector in China, and why understanding sports diplomacy is the first rule of thumb for anyone interested in building healthy, sustainable presence in the Chinese sport market.
Using the NBA’s recent fallout with China as an example, this article purports to elaborate on the issues touched upon on the panel (available for LawInSport Plus members to view here1). Specifically, it explains:
Why the Houston Rockets and NBA have faced public criticism in China;
The importance of diplomacy when navigating China’s sports market; and
Key points for sports organisations and stakeholders when engaging with Chinese fans.
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- Tags: Basketball | Broadcasting | China | Commercial | Diplomacy | Governance | New Leagues | Sponsorship | Sport Law
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Ms. Guo Cai oversees the International Law and Sports Business practice, Jin Mao Law Firm, the first Chinese law firm to establish a practice dedicated to the sports industry. Ms. Cai graduated from Harvard Law School and China University of Political Science and Law. She also held an LLM in Human Rights (distinction) from the University of Hong Kong. Admitted to practice in China and the US (New York), Ms. Cai specializes in international dispute resolution and sports law, with the aspiration to grow with the Chinese sports industry and connect international best practice with sports in China.
Ms. Cai’s involvement in sport dated back to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, for which she served as a professional volunteer. The case of IOC v. Xinyi Chen in the 2016 Rio Olympics motivated her to specialize in the sports sectors so as to make quality legal services available to Chinese athletes where needed. Ms Cai has successfully represented sportspersons, national and international sports associations in disputes at both domestic and international level, with particular strengths in new, unsettled areas. In 2020, Ms. Guo Cai contributes to the debut of Annual Review on Sports Dispute Resolution in China (2020) published by the Beijing Arbitration Commission, the first time that sports has been broken out from entertainment for separate discussion. She is the co-author of this inaugural volume.