Re­form­ing CBA con­verts to NBA way

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By CHINA DAILY

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.

MENG YONGMIN / XIN­HUA

Yao Ming, pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion, speaks at Fri­day’s me­dia con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

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