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China, Brazil get NBA preseason games

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York | China Daily Latin America | Updated: 2014-04-21 03:30

Brazil and China will host games in the second annual National Basketball Association Global Games initiative.

As part of the NBA's outreach to its international fan base, five teams have been tagged for the 2014 installment of the Global Games. Five exhibition games will be played in four countries over a week in October.

Games will be played in Brazil, China, Germany and Turkey. The on-court action is to be supplemented by interactive fan events and NBA Cares community programs.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the games “bring people together across cultural and geographic lines”.

“As the passion for the game continues to grow globally, we are focused on finding unique and meaningful ways to connect with fans worldwide,” Silver said in a statement. “These games are a great opportunity for our fans to experience the excitement of the NBA, first-hand.”

Partaking in the 2014-15 Global Games are the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will take on LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Oct 11, in the NBA's second game played in Latin America. The matchup will be held at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, the same venue where the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards met for the NBA's first game in South America in October 2013.

The Kings and Nets will play a pair of games in China to round out the campaign, with the first contest taking place in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Oct 12. The second will be held in Beijing at the MasterCard Center on Oct 15.

Social media and marketing programs will support the Global Games, which will also include regular-season games to be announced at a later date.

"We're thrilled to bring the Kings back to our fans in China," Kings' owner Vivek Ranadiv said in a release. "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.”

Twenty-one Kings games were broadcast live on Chinese media 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.

Ranadive said he is looking forward to the matches in October because the Nets "share our philosophy that basketball is the preeminent global sport of the 21st century". The clubs played two preseason games in China four years ago, one in Beijing and the other in Guangzhou.

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

Basketball has established a major international presence with NBA games broadcast in 215 countries and territories and in 47 languages. The NBA has staged 147 preseason and regular-season games in close to 20 countries and territories since the NBA's first-ever international game in 1978.

In 2004, the NBA hosted a pair of preseason games in Shanghai and Beijing as part of the first NBA China Games, but the league decided to unify its international tour under the NBA Global Games banner in 2013.

NBA China's CEO, David Shoemaker, told China Daily in January that NBA China's social media platforms have "nearly 70 million fans and followers" , allowing basketball faithful to "get as much NBA as they can digest".

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

Beijing-based NBA China is an arm of the NBA formed in January 2008 to spearhead the league's business in China. The NBA in China has relationships with a number of television and digital media partners, including a partnership of more than 25 years with China Central Television (CCTV).

Last October in China, the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers played a pair of games in Beijing and Shanghai as part of the 2013 Global Games.

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