Aus­tralia’s NBL makes China pivot

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIA’S NBL an­nounced a deal yes­ter­day to broad­cast ev­ery game of the 2016-17 sea­son into China and even open­ing the door for a Chi­nese team to even­tu­ally join the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League is keen to ex­pand and Ali Sports and Sina Sports will both stream ev­ery game live on their Chi­nese plat­forms with Man­darin commentary and graph­ics.

NBL gen­eral man­ager Jeremy Loeliger called it a “new fron­tier” for Aus­tralian sport.

“Each of our Chi­nese me­dia part­ners in­di­vid­u­ally has a sub­scriber base that is greater than any­thing ever ex­pe­ri­enced by an Aus­tralian sport on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” he said in a state­ment.

“Col­lec­tively, their reach is al­most in­con­ceiv­able and for our league to be po­ten­tially viewed by

‘Col­lec­tively, their reach is ... noth­ing short of a new fron­tier for Aus­tralian sport.’

Jeremy Loeliger NBL gen­eral man­ager

mil­lions of fans each week across their dig­i­tal plat­forms with lo­cal commentary and sub­ti­tles is noth­ing short of a new fron­tier for Aus­tralian sport.”

He added to re­porters that he would shortly visit China to sound out in­ter­est in a Chi­nese team one day join­ing the league.

“At this stage, that’s still very much fact-find­ing and feel­ing out the lo­cal mar­ket as to what that op­por­tu­nity might look like and how it might be struc­tured.”

The NBL, which cur­rently has eight teams, in­clud­ing one from New Zealand, was strug­gling sev­eral years ago as dwin­dling crowds, poor TV rat­ings, and a lack of star power threat­ened its ex­is­tence.

But it has en­joyed a re­vival over the past two years, helped by a new dig­i­tal broad­cast strat­egy.

NBL ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Larry Kestel­man said the league wanted to col­lab­o­rate more ex­ten­sively, not only with China but with Asia as a whole.

“We have made no se­cret of our de­sire to see the league ex­pand and strengthen fur­ther. In the long term we see Asia hav­ing a greater in­volve­ment across our Aus­tralian NBL sea­son,” he said. –

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