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The Next Hotbed in Sports: Asia
Here's how the explosion in growth across Asia (relating to sports) will be felt across the globe.
This is a high-level overview of Asia from my discussion with Loron Orris. For more details head to their Asia Sports Tech insights page. Infographics created by them.
Some of the biggest companies in the world will come out of Asia in the next decade…
It’s simple — they have the most people.
60% of the world’s population is in Asia (and they’re finally catching up on consumer trends and sports monetization).
Big growth lies ahead!
Let’s Dive In 👇
Background On Asia & Sports
Asia is the growth engine of the world’s consumption, which has led to the rapid acceleration of its sports industry.
The consumption numbers are staggering…
Asia offers a $10 trillion consumption growth opportunity over the next decade (McKinsey).
And Asia is home to some of the world’s biggest economies (GDP):
South Korea (10th)
50% of the world’s consumer class is located in Asia.
The significant growth in Asia’s sports markets is driven by 3 major things:
social and demographic change
This includes leagues, teams, startups, corporate, IPs, brands, and investors seeking sustainable growth and monetization opportunities.
Fandom Is Being Monetized
Asia has become a crucial destination for global sporting events.
But more importantly…
Home-grown professional Asian sports leagues are gaining popularity and status on the global stage.
Cricket in India is the perfect example. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is now one of the highest-valued sports leagues in the world:
The birth of sports-related startups is helping to fuel the growth as well…
Fantasy sports users in India went from 2 million ➔ 150 million in less than 5 years.
And several major sporting events have been hosted in Asia since 2018:
3 Olympics (Beijing, Tokyo, Pyeongchang)
2 FIBA World Cups
Rugby World Cup
Governments are investing significantly in sports infrastructure and creating programs to ensure their populations lead healthy active lifestyles.
Asian Sports Stars
More and more Asian athletes are making it to the global stage…
🇰🇷 Son Heung-Min, Tottenham Hotspurs
🇯🇵 Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
🇰🇷 Jin Young Ko, LPGA golfer
The rise of “local heroes” helps inspire younger generations (and fuels their love for sports).
And with so many people, sports stars in Asia are finally starting to capitalize on their social media stardom.
Indian cricket player Virat Kohli is one of the most-followed athletes in the world (249 million Instagram followers).
Asia Sports Investing Scene
Several sports tech unicorns have emerged in Asia over the last few years.
*some of these valuations have shifted a bit since 2021
By 2025, the Asia-Pacific sports technology market is projected to reach US$10.8 billion in value.
As the leagues and teams become more valuable in Asia…
The need (and opportunity) for startups to support their infrastructure continues to grow.
Young Population + Gaming Drives Growth
Asia features a large young urban tech-savvy population that is connected through 5G mobile devices.
As a result…
Esports has exploded in popularity (especially mobile games).
The 2022 MLBB SEA Cup in Malaysia attracted a peak viewership of 2.8 million fans.
Asia also offers immense opportunities for Web3-related businesses, as play-to-earn platforms continue to take off.
3 Waves of Asian Sports Innovation
Asia has gone through two major waves of innovation, and we’re currently entering the third phase.
Wave 1: Media Building
This was centered around building out the sports media ecosystem.
A large number of international teams and leagues came over to Asia to show off their product and grow the audience.
Wave 2: Team Ownership
Bringing in Western money and ideas to grow Asian-grown leagues/teams.
And now money is flowing out of the region into other places.
For example, Indian Premier League owners buy stakes in US teams and US owners buy stakes in Indian Premier League teams.
Wave 3: Digital Revolution
The rise of internet connection, smartphones, and the middle class is spurring Asia into this third wave.
10/20 countries with the most smartphone users are in Asia.
This is fueling consumption (and helping sports garner a stronger foothold).
Where’s Asia Sports Headed?
Asia has become a hub of innovation over the last decade.
The region is perfectly poised for growth across all verticals of sports, esports, and fitness.
Some of the biggest opportunities are available in China and India.
However — Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Oceania region all offer their own unique competitive advantage.
The opportunities of Asia's sports ecosystem cannot be ignored:
increasing capital inflow
more players entering the market
micro and macro factors moving up the sports value chain
Exciting times ahead 🥂
Today’s guest is Loron Orris, Founding Partner of Asia Sports Tech.
Asia Sports Tech is one of the leading business consulting and financial advisory firms in all of Asia.
You’ll enjoy this episode as we discuss:
Building NBA Asia & IMAX Japan
Challenges (and opportunities) new entrants face in Asia
Next waves of growth and innovation in Asia’s sports ecosystems
Check out the podcast episode here.
Loron Orris has 30+ years of experience in the Asian sports ecosystem — he offers a unique perspective and plenty of great takeaways (view his LinkedIn)
For more insights on Asia Sports Tech:
Thanks for reading (and listening) today!