The National Basketball Association today
announced the formation of NBA China, a new entity that will conduct all of
the league’s businesses in Greater China.
Five strategic partners will invest $253 million to acquire 11% of the
company in preferred equity. The strategic partners are an elite group of
exceptionally prominent and successful entities: ESPN, a division of The
Walt Disney Company, Bank of China Group Investment, Legend Holdings
Limited, Li Ka Shing Foundation and China Merchants Investments.
"The opportunity for basketball and the NBA in China is simply
extraordinary,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “The expertise,
resources and shared vision of these immensely successful companies will
help us to achieve the potential we see in the region. The strategic
investment from these companies will allow us to continue working with the
General Administration of Sports and the Chinese Basketball Association to
grow our sport and emphasize, in both rural and urban Chinese communities,
its contributions to fitness, healthy lifestyle and an appreciation of
“I would like to congratulate the NBA on forming NBA China,” said Mr. Li
Yuanwei, Chinese Basketball Association Executive Vice President and
Secretary General. “With the support of its strategic investors and
additional investments in China, I think the NBA and the CBA can expand
upon our past cooperation to further develop basketball in China.”
Tim Chen, the former CEO of Microsoft Greater China, joined the NBA on
October 15, 2007, and will lead the new entity as its CEO. NBA China will
be governed by a Board of Directors that will include representatives of
the strategic investors as well as Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon,
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and NBA executives Adam Silver,
Deputy Commissioner and COO, Heidi Ueberroth, President of Global Marketing
Partnerships and International Business Operations, and Commissioner Stern.
The NBA has interacted with Chinese basketball for decades, including first
hosting the Chinese National team in 1985 and regularly providing training
for the Team through U.S. coaching clinics, exhibition matches against NBA
Development League teams and an invitation to the 2007 NBA Summer League.
The NBA currently has relationships with 51 Chinese telecasters including a
partnership of more than 20 years with national broadcaster CCTV, has
organized hundreds of touring basketball events for fans and currently
maintains 16 marketing partnerships with a combination of Chinese-based
corporations and U.S.-based multinationals.
The NBA opened its Hong Kong office in 1992 and currently employs 100
people in four offices in Greater China. NBA.com/China has become the most
popular single sports site in China and NBA is consistently the most
searched sports term on Baidu.com, the top search engine in China. More
than 500 unique NBA products are available in China at Wal-Mart, Carrefour,
adidas stores and many other retail locations. The NBA became the first
American sports league to stage games in China in 2004 with the NBA China
Games 2004 in Beijing and Shanghai. The league returned this season for
NBA China Games 2007, three preseason games played in Shanghai and Macao.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as strategic advisor to NBA China and as
exclusive placement agent for the offering. Proskauer Rose LLP acted as
the legal advisor for NBA China.
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