Rising Hopes for Tennis in China

Jan 28, 2010, 06:00 ET from gemba

HONG KONG, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Female Tennis stars are making China proud with their success at the Australian Open. Tennis aces Zheng Jie and Li Na have made tennis history becoming the first Chinese players to make the semi finals of the Australian Open.

The Australian Open was the perfect tournament for their success with the gemba Sports and Entertainment report showing the Australian Open has the highest level of interest amongst the four Grand Slams in China.

For the Awareness and Interest in the Tennis Grand Slams, please visit: http://www.prnasia.com/sa/attachment/2010/01/20100128911926.pdf

The report also shows that Zheng Jie and Li Na perform strongly in likeability and awareness amongst International tennis stars in China and this success should help increase their performance against both of these metrics. However, overall Tennis stars are overshadowed by athletes from other more popular sports including Basketball, Soccer, Badminton, Diving and Table Tennis.

For the Athlete Awareness and Likeability - General Population, please http://www.prnasia.com/sa/attachment/2010/01/2010012863393.pdf

The stars will also be able to keep more of their prize money after being released from the state run sporting system which kept up to 65% of their earnings. While most athletes in China are still required to be part of the state system the CTA (Chinese Tennis Associations) release of its top players was a revolution for professional Chinese sport. The players will be giving up an extensive group of coaches, medical staff and support.

While popular and successful athletes can be hugely beneficial in growing a Sports Passion particularly in developing markets, as demonstrated by the success of Basketball and Yao Ming in China and Sania Mirza and Tennis in India, Tennis in China has a long way to go.

Currently only 20% of the population claim to be Passionate about the Tennis placing it at #13 out of the 14 sports included in the research.

For the Top 5 Passion Sports and Tennis, please visit: http://www.prnasia.com/sa/attachment/2010/01/20100128111877.pdf

gemba Hong Kong General Manager Sarah Trainor explained,

"Typically we see that Sports with high levels of Passion have strong image profiles. In China, the image of Tennis has a number of weaknesses. In particular, it performs very poorly on Accessible (13th of the 14th sports included. Golf was #14), Exciting (12th of 14 sports), Fun (13th of the 14th Sports) and Promotes China (14th of 14 sports).

While the recent success of the Chinese stars won't solve all of these problems it is definitely likely to have a positive impact on the Sport particularly in China where they are so proud of their athletes that perform well on the world stage."

Notes about gemba and the Sports and Entertainment Report

gemba specialises in providing business and brand strategy to the sports and entertainment industry. gemba has worked on major regional sporting events including the FIFA World Cup 2002(TM) and the Beijing 2008 Olympics. gemba has offices in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.

gemba's Insights division commenced in 2007 with the launch of the gemba Sports and Entertainment Report which focuses on understanding how consumers are engaging with sports, music, movies and other entertainment genres. The China report has just been released making it the fifth market in the region including Australia, Hong Kong, India and New Zealand.

Many major brands and rights holders are currently subscribers and the insights emanating from the research are driving major changes in the sports and entertainment industry. Including adidas, Coke, Toyota, the Australian Sports Commission, Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia.

    For further information please contact

     Sarah Trainor
     Tel:     +852-6385-0676
     Website: http://www.thegembagroup.com

SOURCE gemba