Over the summer, China said it aims to grow its sports industry into a $773 billion business by 2025.
But the lofty goal comes on the heels of a dismal announcement. Last week, the nation revealed that its sports business industry lost $33 billion in 2020.
It recorded a total output of $431 billion in value — 7.2% less than its 2019 value of $464 billion.
- The value of stadiums and other sports venues decreased by 20.2%.
- The sports agency and design sector saw a 16.9% decrease.
- A few sectors — like sports media and education — grew.
The report attributed the drop to the ongoing global pandemic.
China has an opportunity to jumpstart its sports economy with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, which kick off on Feb. 4. But there are wrinkles that could complicate how much cash the Games can infuse into China’s sports economy.
The surging Omicron variant has posed a significant challenge to the Winter Games, raising questions not only about whether travel and competition will be disrupted, but whether they will be held at all.
Diplomatic boycotts by the U.S, Canada, U.K., and Australia in response to China’s human rights violations have also cast an air of scandal over the Olympics.