Television

ESPN to televise NBA games live from China in October

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney company is looking to enhance its presence in China through its association with the National Basketball Association (NBA) by sponsoring the first-ever NBA games to be held there in October 2004.

The games, which will be aired on its sports subsidary ESPN, are a part of Disney's overall effort to expand internationally, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.

Disney CEO Michael Eisner was quoted in an offical release as saying, "Introducing the magic of Disney to the world's most populated nation is a truly thrilling and historic undertaking. While this is an incredible opportunity for our company and our shareholders, it is also an important cultural milestone for the Chinese people, as we open the doors to entirely new worlds of fantasy, imagination and adventure."

"The combined strength of Disney, ESPN and the NBA makes for a sports-entertainment powerhouse, and we're pleased to bring them together for the first time ever in China," said Disney president and COO Bob Iger. "Both Disney and the NBA offer experiences that transcend cultural divides, which is why these exciting sporting events are the ideal platform for introducing Disney's newest theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland," Eisner added.

As part of the sponsorship, Hong Kong Disneyland will be working with the NBA on a number of marketing activities to support the event. Hong Kong Disneyland also will have an in-stadium and courtside presence at the NBA games in China, as well as on NBA.com.

In addition to the telecasts in the US, ESPN International will distribute the games to 100 countries and territories in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. The official release however informed that additional international distribution is still pending.

Disney's presence in China includes television programming, film, home entertainment products, live entertainment, consumer products, publishing, Internet properties, and in 2005-06 a theme park presence.

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