橫琴誌 | HENGQIN RECORD

Interview with Peter Lv from Hengqin’s Huafa Sports

By Wendi Song
Photo by Huafa Sports

Huafa Sports Operation Management Co., Ltd., part of Huafa Group, was established in 2013 and is located at the center of Zhuhai Hengqin Free Trade Zone. With its own international first-class sports venue – Hengqin Tennis Center – the company currently operates major sporting events including the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Zhuhai Open, Australian Open Asia Pacific Wildcard Playoff, China Bicycling Tour and a variety of amateur tennis challenge events.

Soccerex China 2018, held on 17 and 18 April, is Huafa’s latest effort to branch out into other sports.

HQR took the opportunity to sit down with Peter Lv, General Manager of Huafa Sports, to share his vision for the future development of sport in Zhuhai and specifically Hengqin.

HQR: Huafa Sports has been dedicated to bringing top class sports to Zhuhai and Hengqin. Why is that important?
Peter Lv: To Huafa Sports, it’s the company business, however for Zhuhai and Hengqin, the organizing of each sport event will greatly increase the influence and attention of the place. Meanwhile, it will also bring the linkage effect of relevant industries such as transportation, hotel and F&B. An internationally affiliated event like WTA will greatly enhance the influence of Hengqin and Zhuhai in the international, domestic and peripheral area.

But to enhance influence is just one aspect, our consideration is focusing more on the operation of the company. By bringing high-level, high quality games like the WTA, we want to sell more tickets and raise the tournament’s income. Just like Soccerex China, we’ve attracted many people willing to pay to participate and that is the guarantee of high quality. By doing high-end activities, we hope they can not only promote the development of the entire region but also bring in more new business for Huafa Sports and Huafa Group.

HQR: When these large-scale events are held, are the audiences mainly locals? And what is usually the major challenge when hosting those events?
PL: To run a sports business, the population of the area is the key factor. However, there are only around two million people living in Zhuhai and when considering how many of these would like sports, especially tennis or football, the number is even less. And there is no guarantee that even the people who do like sports will have time to watch the game during that specific time. Therefore, it is still difficult to attract the audience.  

Of course, a good match will not only attract locals but also people from nearby cities, however, according to my experience in this area and some research data, the locals will be the main force of the audience because of the convenience. For instance, the price of a ticket may cost RMB300 to RMB500, plus there are meals and shopping, so the cost to watch a game could be around RMB1,000 for locals.

But for audiences from other cities, the cost can be double, so they have to consider seriously whether there’s enough attraction for them to come to the stadium to see the game. That is now the biggest challenge for us in running the tournament in recent years.

That’s why I really value the Macau market. Though the population is only 600,000 there, it is still important, because both Macau citizens and its tourists have very high consuming power. We also hope that after the opening of HZM Bridge, there will be more audience from Macau and Hong Kong to attend the games.

HQR: What are Huafa Sports’ future plans?
PL: Huafa Sports has only been established for a short time and is still in its growing period. Everything is gradually improving. What we do now will, of course, be part of our development strategy in the future.

At present, we are mainly doing stadium management, with our own international first-class sports venue – Hengqin Tennis Center. The stadium operation itself, as a multi-function venue, involves tennis and other types of actives such as concerts, free fights, Latin dances, badminton and so on. This also gives us opportunities to enter other fields.

The other thing we’re mainly focused on doing is to integrate high-end sports event operations and management. We have already been operating the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, Zhuhai Open, Australian Open’s Asia Pacific Wildcard Playoff and that will continue in the future.

In addition, in the future, we may also try to run tennis clubs or other projects. For example, Soccerex is our attempt for a new field outside of tennis.

HQR: You’ve worked on the China Open for many years and have a in-depth understanding of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon operations. In your opinion, will China soon have another top tennis player like Li Na?
PL: I remember when I worked on the Australian Open’s Asia Pacific Wildcard Playoff, I had a talk with the Australian side and they said they plan to find their next Grand Slam champion within the next 10 years. As big as Australia is [in the tennis world], they expected it to take a decade. So how long will it take China? I think the possibility is there but it is difficult.

At present, it is unlikely that China will find a Grand Slam champion among the existing players, but once there is one, the attention they bring to the local tennis industry will grow geometrically. For example, Li Na’s win at the French Open in 2011 still ranks as the highest rated TV audience of all time because so many Chinese were watching.

But to develop and train players like Li Na, it depends on the establishment of a tennis system throughout the country, including professional competitions, tennis training and management of the entire industry. When the foundation is laid, there is a greater chance of a Grand Slam player.

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專訪珠海華發體育運營管理有限公司呂品德

文/宋文娣
圖片/華發體育

華發體育作為SOCCEREX的承辦單位之一,隸屬於華發集團旗下,於2013年成立,公司位於橫琴自貿區中部,目前運營的主要賽事包括珠海WTA(國際女子職業網球)超級精英賽、珠海網球公開賽、澳洲網球公開賽亞太區外卡賽、環中國國際公路自行車賽、以及一系列業餘網球挑戰賽。

本週17、18兩日舉辦的SOCCEREX是該公司網球之外,於其他運動領域所進行的新的嘗試。

我們藉機專訪了該公司的執行董事兼總經理呂品德先生,請他介紹了此次足球峰會之外華發體育有關於橫琴、乃至珠海目前體育運營的狀況及對於未來發展的計劃和願景。

HQR:華發體育一直致力於將國際一流的賽事引入橫琴乃至珠海,請問這樣做的原因是?

呂:對於華發體育來說,這是公司經營的業務。但對於珠海整個城市或者橫琴區域來說,每項體育賽事的進入,都會讓這個地方的影響力和關注度得到很大的提升,同時還會帶來相關的經濟產業的聯動效應,包括交通、酒店和餐飲行業。

華發體育做WTA這種國際影響力的賽事,對橫琴、對珠海在國際、國內及周邊區域的影響力都會有很大的提升。

提升影響力只是一方面,更重的考慮是體育公司的運營。我們希望引入一些高水平、高質量的比賽,這樣對賽事收入也有好處,觀眾願意買票進來看。就像這次峰會,會有人願意報名付費來參加的,這就是高品質帶來的保障。我們希望通過做一些中高端的活動,不僅可以帶動整個區域的發展,同時也能給我們體育公司、和華發集團也帶來更多新的業務和影響力。

HQR:請問這些大型賽事舉辦時,觀眾是以本地人為主還是本地、外地都有?公司在舉辦這些賽事時面臨過哪些比較大的挑戰?

呂:做體育實際上人口是挺關鍵的基礎。但珠海的實際人口只有兩百多萬,而這些人中又有多少是喜歡體育、喜歡網球或者足球的,比例可能就更少了,而且也不敢保證有多少人都有時間來看這個比賽。所以吸引觀眾上還是有難度的。

好的比賽當然不光是吸引本地人,也會吸引外地人,但以我從業的經驗、以及一些數據來看,本地觀眾才是主力,因為比較方便。舉例來說,一張門票的價格可能是300﹣500元,本地人來的成本,包括吃飯和購物等可能約1000元就夠了。但外地觀眾來得成本至少會翻一倍,所以他就要考慮是不是有足夠的吸引力讓他到現場來看。這個就有難度,也是這幾年我們做賽事運營最大的一個挑戰。

因此,我對澳門市場其實是很看重的。雖然人口只有六十多萬人,但很重要。因為無論是去澳門的遊客也好,還是澳門本地人也好,他們的消費能力會比較強一點。所以我們也希望未來港珠澳大橋開通之後,能夠吸引更多的港澳觀眾來看比賽。

HQR:請問貴公司近期發展計劃?

呂:華發體育其實成立時間不長,還屬於成長期,一切都在逐漸完善的過程中。我們現在做的事情,當然也屬於未來戰略方向的一部分。

目前我們主要在做的是場館運營,因為我們自有一個橫琴網球中心。場館運營本身涉及到網球和其他類型的活動,可以說是多功能的場館,可以做演唱會、自由搏擊、拉丁舞、羽毛球等等項目。這也讓我們有機會進入到其他領域。

同時我們第二塊主要在做的就是賽事。我們本身已經運營了三個網球比賽:珠海WTA超級精英賽,珠海公開賽和超級外卡賽。這些賽事我們未來還將持續的運營。

除此之外,為了我們還可能會涉及到運營網球的俱樂部,或者是其他的項目。比如這次的全球足球峰會,就是我們對於網球之外的新的領域的嘗試。

HQR:您曾在中國網球公開賽(China Open)任職多年,對澳網、法網和溫網的賽事運營也頗為了解。您認為中國還會再出現李娜這樣的選手嗎?以及像李娜這樣的出色的網球選手對於網球運動在中國的發展會有什麼樣的影響?

呂:我記得我在做澳網外卡賽時跟澳方聊過,他們的下一個目標是十年之內在亞洲發現下一個大滿貫選手。作為這麼大的賽事的平台,他們提出的是十年才出一個選手,那我們中國什麼時候能出現下一個,無論女生也好男生也好,可能性一定有,但就是難度比較高。目前來看,現有的選手短期內出大滿貫冠軍不太可能。但是一但出現一個,那對網球行業帶來的關注將是幾何級的增長的。就像李娜法網奪冠那場,收視率目前來說,還是全球網球比賽收視率當中最高的一場,因為中國人觀看的話收視率就上去了。而明星球員選手的體育影響力也I就在這裡了。

要培養出李娜這樣的選手,有賴於整個國家對網球體系的建立,包括職業賽事、網球培訓和整個行業的管理,這些都有關係。基礎打好了,出現大滿貫的選手的可能性就比較大。

 

 

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