The expansion of American professional basketball in China was the focus last week with a dash of soccer, tennis and the business end of GP racing in Korea.
The National Basketball Association announced plans to open a sports complex in the city of Tianjin. The move comes in the wake of the league’s growing popularity in China.
In partnership with the property developer Yatai Lanhai Investment Group, NBA China plans to build a four floor, 120,000-square foot structure complete with NBA-style basketball courts, a fitness center and a restaurant. The complex is part of a 2,300-acre project put together by Yatai Lanhia.
NBA basketball is a going concern in China. Former NBA star Yao Ming is a cult hero in the country, the league’s popularity is proven by growing apparel sales: Chinese brand Li-Ning recently announced news of a deal with Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade. Another sign to the league’s growing fan base is the increasing broadcasting rights.
Industry observers estimate the organization generated some USD $100 million in Chinese revenue last season. League commissioner David Stern says that figure will rise by ten percent over the next few years.
Miami Heat stars Terrel Harris and Dexter Pittman have agreed to endorsement deals with the Chinese sportswear brand Peak. The company already has an endorsement deal with fellow Miami Heat player Shane Battier.
Miami Heat played in various pre-season games in the country. They lost a match to the Los Angeles Clippers. The regular season begins October 30.
In soccer news, Sunderland AFC became the latest Premier League side to acquire an Asian betting partner in a deal with online gaming company TLC88.com. The two-year agreement will allow Black Cats fans to access games and betting facilities on the company’s website.
Organizers of the Korean Grand Prix are thinking twice about the commercial viability of an international motorsport event in the southern industrial town of Mokpo. The race, which is contracted until 2016 has not been a business success but organizer Park Jong-moon says there are other benefits besides just money.
"Even the 1988 Seoul Olympics was a money-losing event,” he said.
In other racing news, the Asian Le Mans Series has agreed to broadcast deals with ESPN Star Sports and Eurosport Asia-Pacific. ESS will air highlights from the endurance motorsports series across its various platforms in its 24 markets. Eurosport will show six 26-minute magazine programmes throughout the inaugural season in 17 countries, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.
The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has renewed its role as tourism destination sponsor of the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. The event – with its 47,000 athletes and two million on-site spectators – will be held on November 4th.
The week rounds off with tennis news. The Korean car maker Hyundai extended title sponsorship of the Hopman Cup. This year’s Hyundai Hopman Cup, its 26th annual, will take place at the new Perth Arena in Australia and will include players such as Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Venus Williams.