NBA Enhances Presence In China With Expanded Alibaba Group Alliance
Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 07:39PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Alibaba Group, NBA, NBA, NBA China, sports marketing, sports media

By Barry Janoff

March 6, 2019: The NBA has taken a major step in its ongoing strategy to build its presence in China.

NBA China and China-based Alibaba Group said an expansion of their existing partnership would bring NBA content to Alibaba’s platforms for the first time, along with an enhanced online shopping experience for consumers in China.

Alibaba Group, founded in 1999, had nearly $40 billion in revenue in 2018.
 
Key to the expanded alliance will be a “NBA Section” to launch across Alibaba’s platforms.

The section will “leverage Alibaba’s technology and consumer insights, allowing fans in China to enjoy personalized and engaging content, in addition to shopping for NBA merchandise all in one ecosystem.”

The NBA and Alibaba will also “provide business partners with robust marketing solutions to promote their products and brands across Alibaba’s platforms.”

Joe Tsai, a co-founder of the Alibaba Group, is a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets and recently acquired a majority ownership in the WNBA New York Liberty.

He also is a member of the NBA China board of directors.

The league recently said that the NBA China Games 2019 Presented by Vivo would feature two pre-season games between LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets: Oct. 10 in Shanghai and Oct. 12 in Shenzhen on Oct. 12.

The NBA China Games 2019 will be the NBA’s 27th and 28th games in China, with 17 NBA teams having played games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei since 2004.

In the U.S., the NBA has had league-wide celebrations for Chinese New Year for eight seasons, supported by multi-media marketing featuring NBA players, Chinese New Year-themed jerseys and in-arena fan activation.

“The NBA is always looking to innovate, and we are absolutely thrilled to expand our partnership with Alibaba,” Derek Chang, CEO for NBA China, said via the league.

“We share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology. We look forward to working with Alibaba to continue to grow the game of basketball in China.”

NBA game highlights, original programming and classic NBA games will be offered via Alibaba platforms to nearly 700 million consumers, including leading B2C marketplace Tmall, social commerce destination Taobao, video-streaming platform Youku and browser and content platform UC.
 
The NBA said that original programming would cover a “wide range of popular basketball and cultural topics, including game predictions, fashion, sneakers, and memorabilia.

Content will be available throughout the regular season, All-Star Game, playoffs and The Finals through such interactive formats as short videos and live-streaming by celebrities and influencers.

According to Toby Xu, vp-Alibaba Group, “The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, with a sizable and passionate fan base in China.

With this expanded partnership, we will fully leverage Alibaba’s ecosystem to create a unique digital experience and bring the NBA closer to fans and consumers in China.”
 
The content offering is the latest collaboration between the NBA and Alibaba.

The NBA Tmall flagship store,, hosted by Alibaba, was launched in 2012, offering a wide variety of NBA-licensed merchandise.

The NBA opened its first office in Honk Kong in 1992. China, which conducts all of the league’s businesses in the nation, was formed in January 2008.

The NBA currently has relationships with several TV and digital media outlets in China, including a partnership with CCTV that goes back more than 30 years.

The league said it hosts hundreds of touring basketball events in the country for fans, conducts community enrichment programs and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of world-class China-based and international corporations.

NBA-licensed merchandise is available through retail and authorized online stores on e-commerce and social media platforms, including NBAStore.cn, NBA.Tmall.com, NBAStore.hk and NBAStore.tw.

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