NBA expands television coverage with China deal

MUMBAI: The National Basketball Association (NBA) is rapidly expanding television coverage. It has signed deals in seven countries including China and Georgia. In India, NBA action airs on Star Sports.


NBA is looking to profit from the league's growing international flavour, a Reuters report indicates. Television is the company's first entry into any market. With the new deals, NBA action is available in 212 countries in 42 languages.

The report adds that other countries, with whom television deals have been signed include Brazil, Armenia, Poland and Lithuania. Existing television deals have been renewed in Japan, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Iceland and Germany. The China deals will place the NBA on 14 provincial networks.

Chinese Central Television (CCTV) will give the NBA access to all 314 million households in China.

In China, sports fans are increasingly becoming involved with basketball since a number of Chinese players are involved with the league. Chief among them is Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets' Chinese center. While China is the market being looked at aggressively in Asia, Japan continues to be the biggest revenue driver in the region. This despite the fact that no Japanese player is in the NBA.

NBA commissioner David Stern adds, ''This is a huge potential market for us. When you look at the power of television and you look at the marketing and consumer product companies - from Toyota to Sony, Matsushita, you name it, you're looking at an enormous amount of activity and potential activity. Probably we could be talking about hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.''

The NBA is also hoping to leverage local language programming into licensing and merchandise sales. Ultimately, the NBA hopes to become a global league, the report says.

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