Hong Kong-listed Asia Pioneer Entertainment (APE) Holdings Ltd is planning to host its first sports-related event in 2021, via the group’s freshly-announced business segment. So said Herman Ng Man Ho (pictured), the group’s chief executive and executive director, in remarks to GGRAsia.
Such an event was likely to take place next year, depending on discussions with potential partners and if the situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic had improved by then, stated the executive.
APE has a core business of distribution, sales and servicing for casino slot machines and electronic table games. The company said in a recent press release it planned to start “sports and sports-related entertainment businesses” as it copes with challenges posed by Covid-19.
The new business segment would include “sponsorship and promotion of sports events and operating sports entertainment venues in Macau,” through a Macau-registered unit called APE Sports and Entertainment Ltd, wholly-owned by the group, said the parent.
The group’s sports-related effort would use a three-pronged approach, said Mr Ng.
“We plan to sponsor a major sports event in collaboration with the Macau government, in order to attract more tourists to the city and help to revitalise and diversify the market,” the executive told GGRAsia. He added that such an event would need to be aligned with the government’s plans and could only take place once the Covid-19 situation was controlled regionally.
The group would also try to promote some large-scale live sporting events in Macau on an annual basis, which could include e-Sports tournaments, said APE’s CEO.
The group said the expansion into the segment was part of its efforts “to diversify its income stream and bring a higher return to its shareholders”.
In his comments to GGRAsia, Mr Ng said the sponsoring and promoting of events in Macau was “not about creating revenue in the short term”.
He added: “It takes time to make a mark and attract people on a regular basis. We need to have a high-quality event that is widely recognised so that later on we can achieve the intended revenue.”
Mr Ng said the company was now working on devising the best strategy in terms of promoting its own sporting events. “Depending on discussions and if conditions allow it, we might organise the first event in 2021,” he stated.
“We want to attract more mass-market tourists from other regional markets and diversify the entertainment offerings in the city,” said the executive.
The firm wants to launch a “sports hall and entertainment venue,” likely in partnership with one of Macau’s casino or hotel operators, noted Mr Ng. He explained that aside from broadcasting popular sports events, people might also be able to practice some of these sports within the venue.
“We are in initial discussions with some potential partners, we are encouraged by the feedback we’re getting from them,” said Mr Ng.
APE had warned in April that the Covid-19 pandemic would have a “material adverse impact” on the group’s financial performance. In May, the company reported a net loss of just under HKD4.1 million (US$529,025) for the first quarter, more than double that of the prior-year quarter.
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