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Gemdale moves into new sport with Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships deal

Brita Sigourney competes in the Ladies' Ski Halfpipe at the 2019 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships at Park City Resort in Utah (by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Gemdale Sports agency has branched out into a new sport after being named as the exclusive commercial partner of the 2021 Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships in Zhangjiakou, China.

Gemdale Sports, a subsidiary of Chinese real estate developer Gemdale Corporation, signed the agreement with the International Ski Federation (FIS), which awarded hosting rights to the event in June 2016.

As the exclusive global agent, Gemdale Sports will cooperate with the FIS to undertake branding promotion and business development for the event. The 2021 Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships will be the first FIS World Championships hosted in China, and will serve as an official test event for the Beijing 2022 winter Olympic Games. The Championships will take place at the Olympic competition venues of Secret Garden, Zhangjiakou and Shougang, Beijing from February 8-28, 2021.

Gemdale Sports currently has a significant presence in tennis. It is the commercial partner of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for the 10-year contract that saw its season-ending Finals event debut in the Chinese city of Shenzhen last year. The FIS deal marks Gemdale’s first association with another sport.

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Commenting on the agreement, Gemdale Sports chief executive, Eddy Liu, said: “On one hand, this is recognition of the capabilities of Gemdale Corporation and Gemdale Sports by international organisations, which demonstrates the growing competitiveness of Chinese enterprises in the world.

“On the other hand, such cooperation remarkably contributes to the development of Gemdale Cooperation and Gemdale Sports as this alliance enables Gemdale Sports to expand the successful tennis-only operation and extend its business into more sports fields.”

FIS secretary general, Sarah Lewis, added: “Gemdale Sports has come to our attention with the great success of the WTA Finals. Especially connected with the success in tennis through the highest-level tournament alongside the installation of tennis academies to develop youngsters, there is a long-term commitment to developing tennis in China.

“Gemdale’s efforts continually cultivate the younger generation of tennis players and build up the programmes to promote tennis in China, which are similar pathways that will work for snow sports. Such cooperation is a great opportunity to gain popularity as a result of the much-anticipated first FIS World Championships in China with joint efforts of the Gemdale Cooperation, Gemdale Sports and the Chinese Ski Association to develop snow sports and contribute to the government’s ambitious targets in this area.”