The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has partnered with sports and entertainment company China National Sports International (CNSI) in a move designed to raise the profile of equestrian sport in the country.
The five-year deal names CNSI as the official business partner of the FEI in China. As part of the agreement, the two parties will develop a large-scale esport, ecommerce and social media presence for equestrian sport in China, ready for launch in 2018.
The FEI said it has partnered with CNSI following rapidly growing enthusiasm for equestrian sport in China, and noted that the country now boasts the world’s second biggest horse population.
The horse sport industry is currently said to have an economic impact of over $1.5bn (€1.3bn) in China and it is predicted that this figure will grow in the coming years.
FEI president Ingmar De Vos said: “Equestrian sport interest is growing rapidly in China. The sky really is the limit, and by working with China National Sports International we will be tapping into the vast Chinese sports fan base with directly relevant content on key platforms and via popular mobile, gaming and social media services used by sports fans in China.”
Zhang Baosheng, chairman of the board at CNSI, added: “The size of the sports landscape in China represents a huge opportunity for growth for the FEI and for sponsors of equestrian sport.
“The key to the success of our alliance with the FEI will be our content offering to Chinese sports fans, and by working with the world governing body for equestrian sport we will be able to offer sports fans exciting and sophisticated equestrian content – this will drive even deeper interest in equestrian sport.”
The FEI said that there are currently 400,000 active equestrians in China, with one in 1,000 fans riding regularly and 300,000 directly employed in horse sport.