NBA courts Sina Corp

Updated: 2013-08-07 10:50

By Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Chinese basketball fans will have seamless access on multiple mobile terminals to watch National Basketball Association games after the US-based organization signed a strategic agreement with Chinese Internet giant Sina Corp to develop better services.

Sina and the NBA signed an agreement and became strategic partners on Tuesday, three years after the two parties' first alliance in 2010. According to the document, the two sides will undertake deep cooperation in terms of mobile broadcasting, community interaction and live video.

Sina said the partnership will for the first time cover all of its mobile Internet products, including, the micro-blogging tool Sina Weibo and Sina Sports application. "Sina will provide customers with cross-platform, one-stop solution watching experiences," the company said in a statement.

Smartpones and tablets running on Apple Inc's iOS and Google Inc's Android system, together with mobile devices on the wireless application protocol platform, will permit access to the NBA game resources, Sina said.

"Because of the increasing popularity of mobile terminals, especially smartphones, watching games at any time, in any place, has increased demand from NBA fans," said Xu Yong, a Beijing-based telecoms expert.

In addition, Sina said it will exclusively operate the NBA official micro blog and all the NBA teams' micro blogs. Sina will also develop an authorized game featuring NBA content and hold events or arrange online activities to form closer ties between fans and basketball stars.

China is the NBA's biggest market outside the United States, not just because of its size but also because of the country's success in sending players to the league, including global celebrity Yao Ming. In 2006, the face-to-face challenge between Chinese players Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian attracted more than 200 million viewers in China.

An estimated 300 million people - approximately equivalent to the entire US population - play basketball in China, indicating promising growth prospects for the NBA in the country.

Yu Yanchao, 25, a student at the Communication University of China, is one of millions of NBA fans in the country. When major NBA competitions take place, Yu and his roommates usually sit in front of one desktop in their dormitory, shouting, cheering and even quarreling over the sport action.

"We do not have a TV, so computers and mobile phones are the major channels for us to enjoy NBA games," Yu said.

Sun Tao, a white-collar worker with a Beijing telecoms company, said he is now likely to watch more NBA games on mobile devices. "It's convenient. I can watch games on my way to the office," he said.

Ren Pengfei contributed to this story.

(China Daily USA 08/07/2013 page1)