ZTE to be NY Knicks' smartphone sponsor

Updated: 2014-10-28 11:39

By Jack Freifelder in New York(China Daily USA)

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ZTE to be NY Knicks' smartphone sponsor 

Representatives of Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks announce a partnership with ZTE Corp, a Chinese telecommunications firm, on Monday at a press conference in New York. From left: Tad Smith, president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Co; Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA; and former Knicks stars Earl Monroe and John Starks took part in a gift exchange at the event.  Jack Freifelder / China Daily

China's ZTE Corp announced a deal on Monday with the New York Knicks to become the pro basketball team's smartphone sponsor.

"ZTE and the Knicks share many common goals, whether it's the Knicks winning on the court or ZTE becoming a preferred smartphone," Lixin Cheng, chairman and CEO of ZTE USA, said during a news conference in New York.

"Our new partnership advances the mission to serve the community where we live and work, to grow ZTE's brand-awareness and to deliver affordable devices for Knicks fans. And we are both competing to win."

Cheng said the National Basketball Association is a good partner for ZTE because of the sport's global outreach, which gives the two sides "a lot of possibilities to work together".

Tad Smith, Madison Square Garden Co's president and CEO, said the Knicks are pleased to welcome ZTE USA because smartphone technology is "truly changing" the way fans experience sports.

ZTE to be NY Knicks' smartphone sponsor

"Smartphones help bring our television audience closer to the game experience," Smith said. "They help us build a deeper relationship between our teams and our fans by helping us deliver the content that fans crave."

As part of its relationship with the Knicks, ZTE will benefit from in-game advertisements in the arena, as well as large LED displays outside, Cheng said.

The Knicks are the third NBA team to partner with ZTE, following the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.

ZTE is also one of the leading sponsors for the NBA Global Games 2014-2015 initiative, which has already featured two exhibition games in Shanghai (Oct 12) and Beijing (Oct 15).

ZTE, founded in 1985, provides mobile handsets and telecommunications equipment. The Chinese multinational, based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has operations in 160 countries.

ZTE USA, a US subsidiary of the ZTE Corp, based in Richardson, Texas, is the fourth- largest smartphone manufacturer in the US.

ZTE also supports a number of NBA team-specific charities, including the Rockets' Season of Giving program, the Knicks' Garden of Dreams foundation and the Warriors Community Phone Drive.

"Our game plan is to continue the momentum for even greater leadership in North America, and we want everyone to know that ZTE is on a fast break in this market," Cheng said.

Signs bearing the ZTE logo will appear at the Knicks' home opener on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.