NBA launches out­reach for fans in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - BY JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

The cham­pi­onship se­ries of the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA) is un­der­way, and this year the league has in­tro­duced a num­ber of ini­tia­tives for its global au­di­ence, in­clud­ing for so­cial me­dia sites in China and other coun­tries.

The NBA Fi­nals started Thurs­day in San An­to­nio, Texas, fea­tur­ing a re­match be­tween the San An­to­nio Spurs and the Mi­ami Heat. Mi­ami has played in the last three NBA Cham­pi­onships, win­ning the last two. San An­to­nio has the most in­ter­na­tional play­ers in the NBA, 9, though none are from China.

The NBA Fi­nals is a chance to crown the league’s cham­pion, and one NBA of­fi­cial said the ini­tia­tives that are be­ing launched this week will in­crease en­gage­ment with in­ter­na­tional fans across a num­ber of plat­forms. The first-time en­deav­ors in­clude in­ter­act­ing with play­ers on so­cial me­dia and new broad­cast part­ner­ships.

The NBA has more than 625 mil­lion so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers across all league, team and player pages on Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, Sina and Ten­cent, ac­cord­ing to an NBA press re­lease.

“With a great Fi­nals tak­ing place this year — a re­match of the Spurs ver­sus the Heat — it’s a per­fect time for us to cap­ture the world stage,” said Matt Bra­bants, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of Global Me­dia Dis­tri­bu­tion and Busi­ness Op­er­a­tions for the NBA..

“We have such a huge fan base in China, so this just rep­re­sents a great time for us to en­gage with them,” he said in an in­ter­view with China Daily. “Given the flex­i­bil­ity, mo­bil­ity and in­ti­macy that dig­i­tal ac­cess pro­vides, we can … try to show them what it’s like to be in San An­to­nio and Mi­ami for these games.”

This year’s cham­pi­onship se­ries is be­ing broad­cast in 47 lan­guages with cov­er­age avail­able in 215 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries.

For fans in China, China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion (CCTV), China’s na­tional TV sta­tion, will be on­site in the US to pro­duce a feed of all the games, with com­men­tary and in­fo­graph­ics in Man­darin.

Bei­jing-based NBA in China has re­la­tion­ships with a num­ber of tele­vi­sion and dig­i­tal me­dia part­ners, in­clud­ing a part­ner­ship of more than 25 years with CCTV.

Sina Corp, a leading on­line Chi­nese me­dia com­pany that main­tains a web page for each of the 30 NBA teams, will stream ev­ery game live on­line in China. It will also pro­vide additional con­tent through Sina Weibo, the pop­u­lar Chi­nese mi­cro blog ser­vice, and the com­pany’s Sina Sports mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion. “

CEO of NBA China David Shoe­maker told China Daily in a Jan­uary in­ter­view that NBA China has “nearly 70 mil­lion fans and fol­low­ers” of its so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Bra­bants said: “The stuff that we’ll be do­ing on Weibo and the cov­er­age we’ll be pro­vid­ing for Sina and Ten­cent, all of those things go back to the fact that the fan base is so strong in China. We couldn’t do that with­out that be­ing the case. But it seems like China is al­ways there for the NBA in terms of con­sump­tion.”

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