Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

“After the Winter Olympics, the industry is still thinking in a good direction, but it is still unclear what the specific situation is.” Andy, an ice rink practitioner who resigned during the epidemic last year, told Lanxiong Sports.

The National Ice and Snow Facilities Construction Plan (2016-2022) released in 2016 mentioned that by 2022, the number of domestic ice rinks will increase from 200 in 2015 to 650. After the successful bid for the Winter Olympics, “ice and snow fever” also seems to have become a optimistic consumer trend in the business world. However, under high hopes, the commercial ice rink business has not ushered in a huge explosion, but the situation is slightly embarrassing.

From the compound to the mall

The opening of the International Trade Ice Rink with a Hong Kong-funded background in 1999 marked the birth of the “shopping center + ice rink” model ice rink in Beijing. The main body of the construction and operation of the ice rink has also changed from a factory to a commercial entity. Beginning in 2014, there was a small upsurge in the construction of domestic ice rinks in commercial entities. In that year, my country added 30 commercial ice rinks in one go.


Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

 ▲The Guomao Ice Rink still retains two IC card telephones. This ice rink can be said to have witnessed the development history of China’s commercial ice rink.

The blowout in the number of ice rinks is related to the evolution of the commercial entity itself. After the introduction of the experience economy concept into China, commercial real estate began to transform into an experience center. Around 2012, due to a series of reasons such as the economic downturn and the impact of e-commerce, commercial real estate has undergone a round of reshuffle. In order to avoid homogeneity, commercial real estate needs a new and strange format.

Ice rink customers spend a long time in the rink. It is not only a shop, but also a public space that can create a leisure experience. It has a certain drainage capacity and a strong ability to drive other businesses. “For a while, a shopping mall wanted to build an ice rink.” Andy recalled the grand occasion that year. The desire of commercial entities for new formats and the successful bid for the Winter Olympics have led to a rapid expansion of the number of commercial ice rinks. In December 2016, the chain Century Star opened six new stores in just one month.

Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

▲According to the data of the “China Ice Sports Industry Development Report (2019)”, the number of brand stores in mainstream commercial ice rinks continued to increase from 2014 to 2018.

“Wanting is not rich” ice rink 

At present, the main sources of income for commercial ice rinks are individual tickets and on-ice training. The cost of individual tickets fluctuates between 80 yuan and 100 yuan every 90 minutes, which is relatively close to the people. Another major source of profit for ice rinks is ice training. At present, the main training products of ice rinks are skating courses, as well as ice hockey and figure skating courses.

Taking ice hockey as an example, the one-on-one course with the highest G-level coach on the championship ice rink in Beijing Chaoyang Joy City is 300 yuan/30 minutes, and the price of a 10-course lesson package is 3,000 yuan. Training courses usually require several sessions to be connected. Therefore, the cost of a trainee on ice is usually more than 500 yuan, and the unit price per customer is higher. Among the several ice rinks visited by Lanxiong Sports, the training business has been growing in recent years, and the popularity of ice sports has indeed increased compared to before.

According to industry insiders, a well-operated ice rink with 1,200 square meters in first-tier cities can achieve annual revenue of 17 million yuan, and an ice rink with 1,800 square meters even reached 30 million in revenue last year.

Compared with the seemingly plentiful revenue, the actual profit of the commercial ice rink is very skinny . “I believe that many people will leave after the Winter Olympics because this (ice rink) is not a good project.” said Fan Jun, chairman of the Last Century Star Club of the Winter Dingyun Forum, an online event held during the 2020 epidemic.

“The ice rink industry is more enthusiastic than what you don’t understand. In fact, this business is’Wanting is not prosperous.’ Many chain ice rinks in shopping malls are’collecting’.” Andy said. In recent years, especially after the epidemic, players from major commercial ice rink chains such as Century Star have persisted, but most of them have experienced a process from expansion to contraction.

One of the seven major commercial ice rinks, Ouyue, which started as a supplier of ice equipment, has also been involved in ice rink operations, but its number of ice rinks has also been reduced in recent years, and it now focuses more on the upper reaches of the industrial chain. , Mainly doing To B business such as ice rink design and ice making. Joy Ice Rink, which is also the seven major ice rinks, has also noticeably reduced its volume in recent years.

Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

▲Comparison of the number of stores of several major chain commercial ice rink brands in 2018 and 2021 (only statistics on ice rinks that have opened)

The ceiling of the increase in the number of commercial ice rinks is related to the construction and operating cost characteristics of the ice rink. In addition to the construction and equipment investment of more than 10 million yuan, the operating cost of an ice rink is not low. The annual electricity bill for an 800 square meter ice rink is between 800,000 and 1 million, and the electricity fee for 1800 square meters is roughly 1.8 to 2 million. The annual rent usually costs between 800,000 and 1 million .

The biggest operating cost of commercial ice rinks is coach compensation. “The coach’s commission can get 35%, and the monthly salary of the coach with excellent resources is 70,000 to 100,000. The coach salary can account for 50% of the operating expenses, and such a high proportion is definitely unhealthy.” Andy said When I started this topic, I suddenly raised my tune. In addition, each ice rink needs to be equipped with a security team of 20 to 30 people, and this part of the salary is between 1 and 2 million per year.


Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

▲Hangzhou’s first large-scale standard commercial Huarun Vientiane Ice Rink, which opened in 2010, has a total cost of 30 million

The “embarrassment” of the ice rink business is also reflected in the investment and financing of ice projects. The number of related investment and financing projects is not only small, but the amount of financing is not large. Most of them are concentrated in the A round and angel rounds, and not many have completed continuous financing. Jessie, the person in charge of a commercial ice rink with an area of ​​1200 square meters in Shanghai, had a brief contact with capital: “A piece of ice is a net profit of several million a year. Just do the math. There are 20 and 30 ice rinks a year. How much money can be earned, so the scale of the ice rink chain can not be increased. Capital does not look down on you.”

Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

When shopping malls no longer “pursue” the ice rink

“The Ouyue Ice Rink in Haiya Binfen City has collapsed. At that time, Ouyue rented the mall to about 230,000 yuan a month. Later, the mall felt that the ice rink was not efficient and the floor efficiency was low, so the cooperation stopped.” An insider understands the situation. Practitioners in the Shenzhen ice rink industry told Lanxiong Sports.

At that time, commercial entities “catch up” the ice rink, focusing on its drainage effect rather than rent. In 2010, Hangzhou’s first large-scale real ice rink, China Resources Bingyun Vientiane, opened. The summer ice rink that year had a daily flow of 2,000 people. Because there were too many people in line in the morning, the ice rink could only be opened one hour in advance. It has indeed attracted people to Hangzhou China Resources Vientiane City.

But not all ice rinks can gather the right time and place of China Resources Ice Rink . For many ice rinks, the characteristic of “Wanting is not wealthy” makes it a low-rental capacity and low-efficiency format. When introducing ice rinks, commercial entities have to weigh the drainage effect of ice rinks and the loss of floor efficiency caused by them. Once the balance is broken, the combination of commercial entities and ice rinks may “disintegrate.”

There are roughly three cooperation models for commercial ice rinks: one is the cooperative leasing model , that is, the owner is responsible for the civil construction and equipment procurement of the ice rink, and the ice rink is branded for lease and operation. Ice rinks such as Century Star take this asset-light route. ; The All-Star Ice Rink with Li Ning’s background adopts the method of investing in large-scale equipment and operating it to cooperate with the property owner (the property owner is responsible for civil construction) .

There is also a model in which commercial entities build their own ice rink investment equipment and operate independently after completion. The representative is the Bingfen Wanxiang series of ice rinks under China Resources. Commercial entities operating self-operated ice rinks digest the ice rink business as part of the internal ecology, so they are more tolerant of the lower renting capacity and floor efficiency of the ice rink.

Commercial entities that cooperate in the lease mode will not require ice rinks in accordance with the retail performance standards of cosmetics, jewelry and other retail formats, and there may be reductions in rents, but they have high hopes for the “drainage” effect of the ice rink. . But in fact, commercial entities and ice rinks are more of a mutual accomplishment relationship. The ice rink where Andy once worked ended up being closed because of its lack of popularity: “If there is nothing around this mall, just rely on ice. It’s unrealistic to drain people out of thin air. The ice rink itself has a process of raising customers, not so fast.”


The Hangzhou Bingfen Vientiane Ice Rink under China Resources had to queue for admission when it first opened. The Shenzhen Mixc Bingfen Vientiane Ice Rink, which opened earlier than the Hangzhou Vientiane City Ice Rink, is also crowded with people to make money back early. Back then, the ice rink business was booming, the market competition was not yet fierce, and it was normal for the courageous early birds to get dividends. But not all ice rinks are so lucky.

The format of the business itself is also constantly evolving. On the one hand, new formats are emerging in endlessly. On the other hand, as the pure experience format still fails to reach the level of retail formats in terms of renting capacity and floor efficiency, the industry has re-invited the retail format back to the commercial entity to make the retail industry itself experience-oriented. Cries. Facing the temptation of new formats and the reflection on experience formats, commercial entities are becoming more and more cautious when introducing ice rinks. “The shopping mall wants to introduce sports training or parent-child formats, and there are also some high-efficiency projects. For example, fencing, the investment is small, if it is good, it will pay back about half a year. However, the ice rink has a large investment, a large area, and a difficult construction. Two or three years It’s the same for return, and it’s also for eight years and ten years.” Andy told Rilakkuma Sports.

The bottleneck of coaching resources

Before looking for a new engine for the ice rink business, there are still some people who choose to “customize” the ice rink business and rediscover the operating boundary from the cost side.

The coach not only eats up a considerable part of the training income of the ice rink, but is often out of control . When the coach changes jobs, he will take away a group of students and the prepaid fees of these students for unspent lessons. This also affects the stability of the ice rink’s cash flow.

The root cause of coaching loss is the scarcity of excellent coaches. In order to solve the coaching gap, one way is to use standardized methods to train junior coaches to “open source”. Wan Yu Fangfei disassembled different levels of figure skating and developed a standard figure skating teaching system corresponding to the national level test. This system is said to be able to train a junior coach in a period of 3 to 6 months. At present, Century Star and other ice rinks also have a relatively complete system for selecting, training and promoting junior coaches.

However, coach training requires long-term and systematic training. Commercial ice rinks can hardly support the cost of systematic training. Training-based ice rinks still need senior coaches to undertake the advanced training needs of trainees.

Therefore, some ice rinks are trying to reconstruct the cooperation model with coaches. “In Canada, the relationship between ice rinks and coaches is often an ice rental relationship, not an employment relationship. At present, the ice rink can’t control the coach nor the trainees. Some people in the industry are already thinking about whether the training can be handed over. Coaches and ice rinks can even charge no training fees and only do the enrollment and drainage, docking with the property owner, and the overall operation and maintenance of the ice rink.

The relationship between the coach and the ice rink is simply an ice time trading relationship. In this way, the salary of several million coaches a year is also saved, and there is no need for a team of dozens of people to serve coaches, and the reduction of staff has been achieved to increase efficiency. The ice rink collects individual tickets and receives government training, so you can live more comfortably. “Jesse said.

How to break through the revenue ceiling?

The ice rink has been relatively mature as a business, and the ice rinks are also broken to find new business growth points. “I understand that some relatively large ice rinks are currently thinking about selling goods to members and arranging online, but they are still exploring, it is difficult to say whether they will succeed or not.” Jessie revealed.

However, most ice rinks still choose to stabilize the basics first. “For so many years, some ice rinks have persisted in surviving. We are currently maintaining our own plates and turning the ice rink into a long-term business.” When asked about the future strategy, a senior executive of an established ice rink chain Tell Rilakkuma Sports like this. The business logic and revenue model of the training are relatively clear, and the cash flow is relatively stable and healthy. Especially when subject training is suppressed, the capital market’s investment trend in the field of training and education has changed.

In June, the ice sports circle ushered in a long-awaited financing event. Based on youth figure skating training, Wan Yu Fang Fei, who has continued to make efforts in the field of ice dance drama, won New Oriental’s tens of millions of A round of financing. New Oriental’s investment in Wanyu Fangfei at this point in time has the meaning of deploying sports training in advance to hedge its subject training business risks.


Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

▲In addition to training and stage plays, Wanyu Fangfei also opened a ballet course, trying to expand its business beyond the ice project to become a base for aesthetic education. Interviewee provides

Some people are trying to get rid of the dependence on training and transform the commercial ice rink into an entertainment format .

Seasonally developed ice rink patterns and ice carnival culture are not uncommon abroad. The winter ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center in New York, USA, completed in 1936, has long evolved into a cultural icon of New York and a must-visit place.

In 2017, the first mobile ice rink opened in Beijing Xiangyun Town, the dream of skating aimed at the other major revenue source of commercial ice rinks-tickets. Le Dream of skating positions itself as an entertainment sports IP centered on short-term outdoor ice rink operations, combining mobile ice rink commercial theme activities, parent-child and Internet celebrity IP projects. From 2019 to 2020, the Dream of Happy Skating officially put into operation 5 venues in Beijing and Shanghai. It is currently accelerating its layout and plans to expand to 15 mobile ice rinks this year.

The technical support behind the movable ice rink project is movable ice technology. Compared with the civil construction of ordinary commercial bodies, the movable ice technology can build an ice rink in dozens of hours. Movable ice rinks are usually outdoor seasonal projects, and the facilities are easy to disassemble and assemble, which reduces the property owner’s decision-making cost for introducing ice rinks. In addition, the energy consumption of the movable ice rink is only one-third of that of the ordinary ice rink, and its construction cost has been beaten down because of the localization, which also provides favorable conditions for the promotion of the project.

In fact, in the “National Ice and Snow Facilities Construction Plan (2016-2022) ” issued by the State Sports General Administration in 2016, it was proposed to “promote outdoor natural skating rinks and build removable skating rinks to encourage parks, campuses, and squares. , Communities and other places to build removable skating rinks”.

At present, commercial real estate and shopping centers are looking for or creating their own online celebrity products. If the outdoor ice rink as a kind of landscape can play tricks, strengthen the creation of entertainment atmosphere, and introduce rich entertainment IP and event content, it may be able to make ice The market format has regained the popularity of commercial entities.


In the aspect of transforming the ice rink into an entertainment format with movable ice technology, the Dream of Skating is not the first “crab-eating person”.

From 2015 to 2017, a project called “Ice World” once completed the four consecutive jumps from Angel’s turn to B round, which is rare in the financing of projects on ice. Ice World introduced the Dutch mobile ice rink technology and proposed to be Disney on Ice. Founder Chen Hao judged that my country’s public participation in ice sports is not high, and training, event IP or club operation may be “unthankful”.

Therefore, Ice World almost gave up training, 87% of which came from tickets. However, according to industry sources, due to the rapid expansion and the impact of the epidemic, the current financing of the Ice World project is still limited to the B round, and the operator is currently seeking new investment.

“Although the individual guest is a pure profit for the ice rink, there is no coaching cost. But the ice rink is not Disney after all.” Jessie believes that the lack of training business will bring about the problem of insufficient user stickiness. How to prevent the seasonal leisure and entertainment mobile ice rink project from turning into a one-off deal is a big test for the project party’s operational capabilities. The future of this model has yet to be tested by the market.

There are also attempts to “connect a piece” of industry links to break the revenue ceiling of the ice rink. In addition to traditional training, Wanyu Fangfei, which has received investment from New Oriental, has an asset-light content business that is the development of ice dance drama IP. In 2018, China’s first original figure skating dance drama “South China Dream” developed by Wanyu Fangfei completed its premiere, and also developed ice dance IP such as “Take a Dream on Ice”. Ice performance IP can lengthen the entire industrial chain of figure skating industry, forming a closed loop of the ecological chain of “Performing Arts + Education + Brokerage + Derivation” as Wanyu Fangfei said.


Ice rink in commercial real estate: still alive, but a bit embarrassing

▲Wanyu Fangfei follows the business model of training + stage play on ice. Stage play undertakes the task of education market, and its audience may become trainees. Conversely, students may also participate in stage performances.

At this point, “Star on Ice” has already made a case. “Star on Ice” is a figure skating performance IP under IMG, with a history of 35 years. In 2017, Hongyue Sports signed a ten-year exclusive strategic cooperation agreement with IMG, and the exclusive cooperation cost for ten years was hundreds of millions of yuan. However, when the “Ice Stars” debuted in 2017, the capital gymnasium with 18,000 seats had only about 30% attendance. The ice dance performance market still needs to be cultivated in China.

The loudest cheers of the “Stars on Ice” audience came from stars, Chinese elements, and entertainment elements. “Hanyu Yuzuru’s contribution to figure skating is huge. It has boosted the fan economy. I think that if such idol athletes appear in China, it will promote the entire figure skating market. In addition, the content of the ice performance should be consistent with that. China in the cultural sense, or the combination of China in the practical sense. The performers of the Feitian program on Henan TV are actually synchronized swimmers. I look forward to the appearance of Chinese elements on the ice.” An ice culture practitioner Said to Lazy Bear Sports.

Where is the ice rink going in the future?

In addition to the commercial body, where else can the ice rink go? Commercial ice rinks have to accommodate individual skaters, figure skating training and ice hockey training, with limited space. Around 2015, because of the positive winter Olympics and the increasing popularity of ice hockey youth training, there was a wave of independent ice rink construction in Beijing.

However, the independent ice rink is located in a remote location, with few people around it, and its revenue basically depends on training and ice-packing training by schools and professional teams. It faces the problem of heavy asset investment and vacant ice time. At one time, training accounted for 90% of Huaxing’s ice rink revenue.

Coupled with the large area of ​​the independent stadium, the energy consumption is usually higher than that of the commercial ice rink. To achieve a net profit of 5 million, the annual turnover of the ice rink must be at least 25 million or more. It is difficult for independent ice rinks with a high proportion of training to reach this figure.

If the ice rink is to have vitality, it must go to those who really need it. Community services, including sports, have become a source of competitiveness. In a real estate project launched in Shenyang, the community not only set up a shopping mall, an experimental school of Chinese science, but also built a large children’s experience hall.

The highlight of this children’s experience hall that is expected to open this fall is the ice and snow IP. The experience hall includes sports children’s play, ice hockey training and ice hockey events. The children’s play format includes ice and snow amusement castles. For example, Vanke has also cooperated with Kunlun Hongxing Ice Hockey Club to introduce Shenyang’s first international standard ice hockey rink to host ice hockey training and competitions.

“Some companies build ice rinks to acquire land. Vanke first has communities and then makes supporting facilities.” An industry insider familiar with Ice and Snow Real Estate gave a high evaluation of this project. The relevant person in charge of the project told Lanxiong Sports that after previous calculations on the flow of people and other data, this ice rink has independent profitability, and close integration with the community may be an alternative path for the future development of the ice rink.

Some people also suggested building non-fixed structure ice rinks such as air film in schools. This will not only lower construction costs, but also enjoy the price of electricity for education. More importantly, the flow of people from schools and nearby residential areas can increase the utilization rate of the ice rink. The “Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Promotion of National Youth Ice and Snow Sports into Campuses” released in 2019 pointed out that in 2025, China will select 5000 ice and snow schools and 100 campus ice and snow sports pilot counties (districts) .

“The ice rink will go to the community and school in the future. I think the ice rink should be left to the bottom of the country, lower the consumption threshold, and make the plate bigger. Only by doing culture and training can companies survive.” Jessie looked forward to the ice. The future of field business.

“Regarding the development of the ice rink in the commercial body in the future, I think it is still from the macro perspective of the degree of development of the ice and snow project in China.” Li Heli, a Lazy Bear Sports columnist, believes that the future of the ice rink still depends on the development of the ice project. At present, the penetration rate of ice hockey, figure skating and curling projects in China is still relatively low. After the Winter Olympics, with the fading of government support policies and the outflow of capital, the future of the industry still requires practitioners to “cross the river by feeling the stones.” .


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