The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is excited to announce that it has partnered with leading global sports digital agency Mailman to run and oversee its Chinese social and digital content and communications operations for the next year.
Mailman has successfully delivered Chinese-based social, digital, commercial, and production strategies for 50+ global sporting pioneers, including the NFL, NHL, UFC, Kobe Bryant, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo, and more.
With badminton now joining the Mailman roster for the first time, both parties are eager to tap into the 149.4 million people in China who actively pick up a racket and play badminton.
BWF Commercial & Communications 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, CEO of Mailman: “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.”
In a further sign of BWF’s commitment to the social and digital sphere, the Federation has 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 initiative falls under BWF’s Star Creation Programme designed to help grow both the global popularity of badminton players and of badminton as a sport.
Leed added: “The BWF recognises that the long-term growth of badminton is partly dependent on creating star players who act as role models for badminton and inspire fans across the world.
“Through social media, our players have a unique opportunity to develop a close relationship with the fans and as such we feel it important to guide and assist them in this process,” he said.
The BWF and Mailman began their partnership on 1 December.