NBA and AEG to open NBA-style arenas in China
AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world, and NBA China, have formed a joint venture to design, market, program and operate multi-purpose, NBA-style sports and entertainment arenas in major cities throughout Greater China, it was announced at a press conference today at AEG’s O2 arena in London by Mr. Timothy J. Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG and NBA Commissioner David Stern.
The press conference took place prior to the game between the New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat as part of NBA Europe Live. AEG developed and operates the state-of-the-art O2 arena in London.
The new joint venture will work with government bodies and agencies and local developers to oversee the design and development of world-class arenas and entertainment districts. The partnership will manage booking and marketing of a wide variety of events including basketball and other sports events, concerts, family shows, cultural events, trade shows/conventions, and various live entertainment performances.
Where feasible, the arenas will be developed in conjunction with surrounding cultural and entertainment districts potentially comprised of restaurants, retail outlets, cinemas, hotels, residential areas, sports training facilities and smaller live entertainment venues.
The new organization will be equally owned and will oversee all decisions for each development including identifying target cities and project sites, arena design and development, procurement of naming rights and other sponsorships, securing an arena anchor tenant and the hiring of key personnel.
The first discussion between representatives of AEG and the NBA about potentially joining forces to create sports and entertainment arenas in China took place at the O2 arena last October during an exhibition game between the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves as part of NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS, the league's preseason tour of Europe. When it was discovered that both organizations were independently pursuing the development of world-class venues in China, they determined that working in cooperation would be in the best interest of each of their entities.
“AEG is the established leader in global arena development as evidenced by its state-of-the-art facilities in Los Angeles, London and Berlin. We are excited to partner with AEG in China where the popularity of basketball creates enormous opportunity,” said Stern. “Together we will work with every level of government and the private sector to create NBA-style sports and entertainment facilities that will anchor communities and grow the sport of basketball throughout China.”
“We view China as an exciting marketplace with a growing appetite for sports and entertainment. This is fueled by an emerging middle class and a great need for state-of-the-art multi-use arenas that can accommodate NBA games, sporting events and world-class concerts,” said Leiweke. “Using our expertise and experience to design, manage and program venues in cities that are looking to create entertainment and cultural destinations will absolutely be one of the biggest and most important initiatives AEG has ever undertaken. Partnering with a global entity such as the NBA will become the most critical component of this initiative as the league’s vision will re-define how the world views sports in the next decade.”