Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

NBA looks to further expand in China post-Olympics

NBA looks to further expand in China post-Olympics

The National Basketball Association anticipates rising demand for its arena management services across China following the Beijing Olympics, league executives said Friday.
The NBA has been heavily involved in running Beijing's Olympic basketball venue since 2006, working with organizers to ensure acoustics, entertainment and concessions are "of the highest standards," league executive Heidi Ueberroth said in an interview with The Associated Press.
A crew of 35 NBA experts have been on hand at the 18,000-seat Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, while plans to further transform the venue after the games will move ahead swiftly after the games end Sunday, Ueberroth said.
NBA China, a joint venture of the NBA, broadcaster ESPN and Chinese companies, this year joined promoter AEG and the Beijing Wukesong Culture and Sports Center to design, market, program and operate the stadium.
The arena, part of a 52-hectare (128-acre) site in western Beijing that also includes temporary Olympic baseball and softball fields, could host basketball games, concerts, and even ice hockey matches in future, said Tim Chen, CEO of the NBA's greater China operations.
With the addition of hotels and shopping nearby, the arena will anchor a major entertainment complex in the city's less developed west, Chen said.
"Our involvement would be to ensure the vibrancy and sustainability of this building and the area around it to be an anchor for sports and entertainment on the west side of the city," Ueberroth said.
Chen said changing lifestyles and a desire by local governments to provide more entertainment outlets were driving demand for such facilities.
"You have more and more middle class coming out," Chen said. "Cities are looking for landmark sites where you have sports venues to bring in more modern events."
Expansion plans were still in the works, but Chen and Ueberroth said particular interest was coming from the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, host of the 2010 Asian Games, and Shanghai, where the 2010 World Expo will be held.
"We think that in the next five, six years many more cities will have facilities like we have in Beijing," Chen said. "Many cities say 'we want one too.'"
The first NBA games were shown on television in China 21 years ago. Viewers now can see up to eight games per week during the season, and Ueberroth said the league was also looking for more partnerships with Chinese companies such as two dairies which earlier helped put NBA material on 60 million milk cartons.
Digital media offers further opportunities, while the league anticipates expanding the number of its NBA stores in China from just two at present to up to 1,000 in the next five years, Chen said. Such shops would both sell merchandise and offer interactive touches such as the chance to pose with a life-size cutout of Houston Rockets center Yao Ming.


Updated : 2021-05-12 17:02 GMT+08:00