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NBA to play two pre-season games in China

By Chen Jia in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2014-04-11 11:20

The Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets will play two pre-season games in China this fall as part of the National Basketball Association's effort to promote the league globally and cater to the fast-growing China market.

"We're thrilled to bring the Kings back to our fans in China," Kings' owner Vivek Ranadiv told China Daily on Thursday. "Over 300 million Chinese men and women play basketball so there's huge potential to connect with new and existing fans. We'll be volunteering in the community, as well as utilizing technology and social media to share our trip with Kings fans around the world," he said.

The games will take place in Shanghai on Oct 12 and Beijing on Oct 15.

Ranadive said he is looking forward to the matches because the Nets "share our philosophy that basketball is the pre-eminent global sport of the 21st century". The clubs played two preseason games in China four years ago.

Kings public relations director Lorenzo Butler said the trip implements the NBA's strategy to broaden its reach internationally. The philosophy includes "cutting-edge technology to enhance the fan experience", "acting as a positive agent of change in the community" and "expanding the team's global brand", he said.

Executives with the Kings also are driving the club to strengthen its connection with the news media in China, including both mainstream outlets and social media.

Twenty-one Kings games were broadcast live on Chinese media outlets during the 2013-14 season, including CCTV 5, BesTV, Chongqing Satellite TV,, and LeTV.

A Kings-Chicago Bulls game to celebrate Chinese New Year was broadcast on CCTV 5 on Feb 5. Three weeks later, the Kings started an account on the Weibo microblogging site, a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the NBA China Games, the Kings took on the Houston Rockets and former Rockets great Yao Ming in two exhibition games. With the NBA's help, the Kings' team website can be viewed translated into Chinese.

The NBA has valued China as its fastest-growing international market. China has attracted 8.6 million registered fans, according to the NBA's website.

At least 70 million NBA followers have expressed their support for the league on Chinese-language social media sites such as Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Tencent Qzone and Tencent WeChat.

NBA China CEO David Shoemaker has said basketball has never been more popular in China, where more than 300 million people play the sport.

In 2012, NBA's China revenue was $150 million. The figure is expected to reach $200 million soon, Forbes reported.

 NBA to play two pre-season games in China

DeMarcus Cousins (center), of the Sacramento Kings, has the ball as his teammate Derrick Williams (left) looks on. Provided by the Sacramento Kings


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