NBA to play two pre-sea­son games in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN JIA in San Fran­cisco chen­jia@chi­na­di­a­lyusa.com

The Sacra­mento Kings and Brook­lyn Nets will play two pre-sea­son games in China this fall as part of the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s ef­fort to pro­mote the league glob­ally and cater to the fast-grow­ing China mar­ket.

“We’re thrilled to bring the Kings back to our fans in China,” Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadivé told China Daily on Thurs­day. “Over 300 mil­lion Chi­nese men and women play bas­ket­ball so there’s huge po­ten­tial to con­nect with new and ex­ist­ing fans. We’ll be vol­un­teer­ing in the com­mu­nity, as well as uti­liz­ing tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia to share our trip with Kings fans around the world,” he said.

The games will take place in Shang­hai on Oct 12 and Bei­jing on Oct 15.

Ranadive said he is look­ing for­ward to the matches be­cause the Nets “share our phi­los­o­phy that bas­ket­ball is the pre-em­i­nent global sport of the 21st century”. The clubs played two pre­sea­son games in China four years ago.

Kings pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor Lorenzo But­ler said the trip im­ple­ments the NBA’s strat­egy to broaden its reach in­ter­na­tion­ally. The phi­los­o­phy in­cludes “cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy to en­hance the fan ex­pe­ri­ence”, “act­ing as a pos­i­tive agent of change in the com­mu­nity” and “ex­pand­ing the team’s global brand”, he said.

Ex­ec­u­tives with the Kings also are driv­ing the club to strengthen its con­nec­tion with the news me­dia in China, in­clud­ing both main­stream out­lets and so­cial me­dia.

Twenty-one Kings games were broad­cast live on Chi­nese me­dia out­lets dur­ing the 201314 sea­son, in­clud­ing CCTV 5, BesTV, Chongqing Satel­lite TV, Sina.com, QQ.com and LeTV.

A Kings-Chicago Bulls game to cel­e­brate Chi­nese New Year was broad­cast on CCTV 5 on Feb 5. Three weeks later, the Kings started an ac­count on the Weibo mi­croblog­ging site, a hy­brid of Twit­ter and Face­book.

To cel­e­brate the 10th an­niver­sary of the NBA China Games, the Kings took on the Hous­ton Rock­ets and for­mer Rock­ets great Yao Ming in two ex­hi­bi­tion games. With the NBA’s help, the Kings’ team web­site can be viewed trans­lated into Chi­nese.

The NBA has val­ued China as its fastest-grow­ing in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. China has at­tracted 8.6 mil­lion reg­is­tered fans, ac­cord­ing to the NBA’s web­site.

At least 70 mil­lion NBA fol­low­ers have ex­pressed their sup­port for the league on Chi­nese-lan­guage so­cial me­dia sites such as Sina Weibo, Ten­cent Weibo, Ten­cent Qzone and Ten­cent WeChat.

NBA China CEO David Shoe­maker has said bas­ket­ball has never been more pop­u­lar in China, where more than 300 mil­lion people play the sport.

In 2012, NBA’s China rev­enue was $150 mil­lion. The fig­ure is ex­pected to reach $200 mil­lion soon, Forbes re­ported.

Ove‘

r 300 mil­lion Chi­nese men and women play bas­ket­ball so there’s huge po­ten­tial to con­nect with new and ex­ist­ing fans. We’ll be vol­un­teer­ing in the com­mu­nity, as well as uti­liz­ing tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia to share our trip with Kings fans around the world.” VIVEK RANADIVÉ OWNER OF THE SACRA­MENTO KINGS

PRO­VIDED BY THE SACRA­MENTO KINGS

DeMar­cus Cousins (cen­ter), of the Sacra­mento Kings, has the ball as his team­mate Der­rick Wil­liams (left) looks on.

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