NBA games will connect with Chinese New Year

Updated: 2014-01-22 09:11


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The National Basketball Association (NBA), looking to increase its fan base in China, will stream 23 live NBA broadcasts over eight days timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year.

From Jan 28 to Feb 4, millions of fans in China will be able to see games that include teams like the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers

All teams playing on Jan 28 will wear special Chinese New Year shooting warm-ups from Adidas, the NBA's official apparel sponsor. NBA China will also conduct a series of social media contests to promote interaction with fans during the league's celebration of Chinese New Year.

Teams will also pay tribute to Chinese culture through musical performances, showcases of Asian cuisine and Chinese partnership activation, the NBA said.

"Chinese New Year is a global event and a great opportunity for us to celebrate with our fans and their families in North America and China," David Shoemaker, CEO of NBA China, said Tuesday in an NBA press release. "The weeklong initiative will bring the excitement of the NBA to fans in ways that resonate with Chinese culture, featuring unprecedented NBA programming and a variety of Chinese New Year-themed fan activities."

The 10 teams participating in the Chinese New Year celebrations are: the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings.

NBA games will connect with Chinese New Year

Joe Dupriest, the senior vice-president and chief marketing officer for Monumental Sports & Entertainment in Washington, said the immense interest from the Chinese population has helped spur the NBA’s efforts to globalize.

"It makes sense that basketball is the sport to have the biggest impact in China," Dupriest told China Daily Tuesday in an interview. "From an NBA perspective, there's such a hunger in China for NBA content. There wasn't that interest from the Asian market before Yao Ming, but it's good for basketball because there's huge potential in China."

"There's always something new that the NBA is doing," Dupriest added. "When you look at all the major sports, basketball and soccer really have the least barriers to entry. All you need for basketball is a ball and hoop, so it's very accessible."

Jianwei Feng, a cardiologist at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, said Yao Ming's arrival in the US playing for the Houston Rockets gave Chinese basketball fans someone to root for and watch play.

"Ever since Yao came to the US, the NBA became much more interesting than any other sport," Feng said Tuesday in an interview with China Daily. "Yao and Jeremy Lin have both drawn so much attention to the Chinese community." Lin now plays with the Rockets after having played with the New York Knickerbockers.

"Sports have no boundaries, you do not need to know English or another specific language to play," said Feng, who is also an advisory board member of the Houston Rockets' official Jeremy Lin Fan Club. "The NBA, to my best knowledge, can influence a lot of things, including business. More and more people are watching and talking about the NBA, so this is a good way for the NBA to work toward globalization."

Dupriest, who handles marketing for the NBA's Washington Wizards, said the increased marketing efforts to China could provide a roadmap for the NBA's future globalization efforts.

"Chinese New Year is celebrated by so many teams, but a lot of them don't have any Chinese players," Dupriest said. "The overall basketball interest in China is huge, and the NBA has done a great job. I think this will be a pillar for all international expansion going forward - especially in Asia."

(China Daily USA 01/22/2014 page1)