New com­pany to re­form, run do­mes­tic league

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By SUN XIAOCHEN in Bei­jing sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Re­tired NBA bas­ket­ball star Yao Ming has shifted his fo­cus to re­form­ing the game at home af­ter a new com­pany was es­tab­lished based on his pro­posal to run the do­mes­tic league pro­fes­sion­ally.

The Chi­nese Bas­ket­ball Association, to­gether with 20 top-tier clubs, an­nounced on Tues­day the es­tab­lish­ment of CBA League (Bei­jing) Sports Co.

Its task will be to re­form the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the do­mes­tic league through more pro­fes­sional ap­proaches in com­mer­cial and ath­letic op­er­a­tions.

As owner of his home­town club, the Shang­hai Sharks, Yao has been an ad­vo­cate of such re­form since he re­tired in 2011.

Cit­ing the ex­am­ple of the NBA, which is jointly owned by team in­vestors and man­aged by pro­fes­sional ex­ec­u­tives, Yao led a group of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 17 other clubs in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the govern­ment-con­trolled association for months be­fore the com­pany was of­fi­cially reg­is­tered in Oc­to­ber.

“I feel a lot of pres­sure. It’s like send­ing your child into so­ci­ety to let him sur­vive on his own af­ter nurs­ing him for 20 years. It’s a must-do process, though,” said Yao, who was elected by 20 club share­hold­ers as vice-chair­man of the com­pany.

Li Jin­sheng, deputy head of the CBA, was named chair­man of the com­pany.

The association, through a wholly owned sub­sidiary, will con­trol a 30 per­cent stake in the com­pany, while each of the 20 clubs will have a 3.5 per­cent share.

The CBA used to con­trol ma­jor as­pects of the league, in­clud­ing broad­cast­ing ne­go­ti­a­tion, spon­sor­ship deals and youth cul­ti­va­tion.

The association will first re­lin­quish the com­mer­cial rights of the league to the new com­pany and then step aside to give it com­plete con­trol af­ter a tran­si­tion pe­riod, Li said.

“We will be hands-off to let the com­pany run the league in­de­pen­dently, as long as the trial pe­riod goes smoothly,” Li said on Tues­day.

The pri­or­i­ties of the com­pany are to for­mal­ize its or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture and man­age­ment sys­tem as well as to hire ex­ec­u­tive staff, Li said.

Zhang Qing of sports mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy Key-So­lu­tion said, “It’s a ma­jor ad­vance in pro­fes­sional sports in China, since an independent com­pany will rep­re­sent the gen­uine in­ter­ests of league clubs from the busi­ness stand­point.”

“This never truly hap­pened be­fore,” Zhang added.

WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY

Yao Ming at­tends the launch in Bei­jing of the CBA League (Bei­jing) Sports Co on Tues­day. He will be vicechair­man of the com­pany.

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