The Badminton World Federation announced a new partnership with global sports digital agency Mailman to run and oversee its Chinese social and digital content and communications operations till 2020.
Mailman will run localised WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, and Toutiao channels for the BWF, as well as run their Chinese language website.
The BWF has also engaged Mailman’s UK-based consultancy arm Seven League to conduct regular social media training sessions with five elite players as part of a pilot programme.
The BWF is keen to leverage on the fact there are 148.4 million badminton enthusiasts in China, and the initiative with Seven falls under their Star Creation Programme designed to grow both the global popularity of badminton players and of badminton as a sport.
BWF’s commercial and communication director Owen Leed said: “Our simple strategy for both our Anglophone and Chinese audiences is to strengthen the bond between our fans and our athletes. This includes converting the huge number of participants we have globally into everyday fans.
“One thing that we have to our advantage in building our fanbase in China is that badminton is a traditional sport and we have an existing, booming, participation group of around 149.4 million.
“Of course, not of all of these are currently active consumers of our content and actively engage in badminton conversations. But we much rather prefer to convert ‘active participants’ into ‘active fans’ than having to convert fans into players.
“So, in partnership with Mailman, we will be leveraging off influencers and utilising athletes as ambassadors to get more people talking about badminton. This is something we are working very hard on at the moment and we look forward to unveiling some exciting new content very soon.
“As we start to build our digital presence and fully utilise the capabilities of our digital and social media platforms in China, as well as bringing the athlete-fan relationship closer together, we feel we will start to see a shift in our fan numbers in China.
Andrew Collins, chief executive of Mailman said: “We’re excited to begin this partnership with BWF in China. As the most-participated sport, badminton has long been part of Chinese culture.
“We’re looking forward to translate this participation to China’s digital space with an entirely new story, building greater engagement and establishing badminton with China’s youth.”
The deal adds another name to Mailman’s impressive roster of clients. The agency already provides Chinese-based social, digital, commercial, and production strategies for over 50 global sporting pioneers, including the NFL, NHL, UFC, Kobe Bryant, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo, and more.