Reforming CBA converts to NBA way
The reforms Yao Ming and the Chinese Basketball Association are determined to implement will make the league more open and professional by emulating strategies perfected by the NBA.
CBA League (Beijing) Sports Co Ltd, which oversees marketing of the league under the association, on Friday released a timetable of improvements for the next five seasons, along with new commercial development plans.
Yao, an eight-time NBA AllStar center and president of the CBA, announced the league has been authorized by the State General Administration of Sports to exercise full authority over development and commercial exploitation, which means the CBA is now independent of the state-run system.
“For our business, the bigger, the better,” said Jiang Jian, director of the league’s commercial department. “We are looking for a more open CBA.”
Under the new reforms, the regular season will be expanded from 38 games to 46, starting in 2018-19. From 2020-21, it jumps to 56 games.
The playoffs have also been revamped. Starting in 2017- 18, the number of teams qualifying for postseason play will increase from eight to 10. The following season, 12 teams will be included in the first playoff round.
“The 2017-18 season marks a new beginning, which is also the first season after the establishment of CBA League (Beijing) Sports Co Ltd,” said Zhang Xiong, director of the league’s competition department.
There will be four playoff rounds in each of the next five seasons, and the home-away format for the finals will be changed from 2-3-2 to 2-2-1-1-1.
“The establishment of CBA League (Beijing) Sports Co Ltd is a huge step in turning the CBA into a more market-oriented and socialized league,” said company chairman Li Jinsheng.
The league was previously run by officials promoted from within government ranks who retained all major decisionmaking powers, from athletic operations to commercial development.
“The CBA will now operate as an autonomous business,” said Jiang. “The room for business expansion and commercial development is huge.”
Jiang said the CBA will continue the model of unified management. Clubs will have partial business interests in league operation and will share profits.
The league will also interact directly with media organizations, and no exclusive copyrights will be sold.
“We will not sell exclusive copyright to any media,” explained Jiang. “The CBA needs more promotion, and this is not just about profits.
“We will contact with media and create new media products, building a broad offering.
“We previously focused only on TV production, but now we will also put our focus on new media.”
On Feb 23, Yao was unanimously elected president of the CBA, marking the first time a non-government official assumed the post.
Following his election, former Houston Rockets star Yao outlined his plans to enhance the quality of China’s premier domestic league, acknowledging its shortcomings in team management, development, training and facilities.
Yao Ming, president of the Chinese Basketball Association, speaks at Friday’s media conference in Beijing.