Just before the 2007 NBA Draft, the league put together a fact sheet for the media on its business in China. The reason: Yi Jianlian was a top prospect, presumed lottery pick and a player expected to raise the NBA's profile even higher in the world's most populous nation.
The NBA is the most popular sports league in China. The relationship with Chinese basketball dates back to 1979 when the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) traveled to China to play two exhibition games against the Chinese National Team. Since then, the NBA has opened four offices in greater China, built relationships with 51 Chinese telecasters, organized dozens of grassroots events and sells merchandise in more than 20,000 retail locations.
• The NBA has partnerships in China with Adidas, Amway, Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, DHL, EA Sports, Gatorade, Haier, Lenovo, Li-Ning, McDonald's, Mengniu, Nike, Nokia, and Spalding.
• Mengniu launched a promotion for the 2007 Playoffs that placed 60 million NBA-themed scratch cards within milk cases throughout China.
• Lenovo’s first promotion with the NBA resulted in the doubling of daily sales revenue in nearly every store for the Lenovo Yang Tian Autumn Promotion. On Oct. 24, the day the partnership was announced, Yang Tian sold a daily record 30,000 units.
• In 2006-07, NBA games and programming were available on a record 51 TV stations in China including national TV station China Central Television (CCTV) who celebrated their 20th year as a broadcast partner at NBA All-Star 2007. This is up from 32 stations last year.
• The 2007 NBA Finals featured a record 128 telecasters who brought the game to 205 countries in 46 languages.
• NBA programming surpassed one billion viewers for the second consecutive season.
• NBA telecasts have generated a total audience of 1.1 billion viewers on all channels in China through May.
• NBA telecasts average over 32 million viewers per week.
NBA.COM AND DIGITAL MEDIA
• More than 20% of all traffic to NBA.com comes from fans in China. The NBA launched its third Chinese web destination nba.com/hongkong this year.
• This season the NBA offered fans in China a record 87 live webcasts on NBA.com/china, through renewed deals with Nusports and Sohu.
• NBA and Shanghai Media Group provided the first HD broadcast of a live sporting event in China (April 26, 2006 – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns).
NBA OFFICES IN CHINA
• Today the NBA has 70 employees working in four offices in Greater China: Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
• The NBA will launch a new enterprise called "NBA China" that will include all of the NBA’s business interests in China and will be open to outside investment.
• This offseason, the NBA will host a record 186 grassroots events in 126 cities in China including Basketball without Borders, NBA Jam Van, Jr. NBA, preseason games, DHL Trophy Tour and Haier Academy basketball camps. Last year, the NBA hosted 43 events in 22 cities in China.
• NBA Jam Van, a customized 52 foot truck that transforms into a complete basketball experience with over 10,000 square feet of activities, visited a record 17 Chinese cities in 2006 and is en route to 24 cities this year.
• The D-League ambassadors will travel to China and compete in a tournament in Guangzhou and Macao against five National Teams: Angola, China, New Zealand, Slovenia and Venezuela. The tournament tips off on June 28.
• NBA merchandise is sold at more than 50,000 retail locations in China including adidas stores, Wal-Mart and Carrefour.
• NBA branded products are distributed via 25 merchandise partners.
• NBA retail sales this year in China will grow by over 50%.
• China is Spalding’s top market for basketballs outside of North America with projected sales of over 1 million basketballs this year.
• Yao Ming is the sixth best selling jersey in China, behind Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
• The NBA and adidas will open 10 NBA Stores in China by the end of the year
• NBA China Games 2007 will feature the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers playing preseason games in Shanghai and Macao on October 17 and 20. On October 18 the Magic will take on the China Men’s National Team in Macao.
• The first NBA games in China took place October 14-17, 2004 featuring the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings playing preseason games in Beijing and Shanghai respectively, making the NBA the first American professional sports league to stage games in China.
• The NBA’s relationship with Chinese basketball dates back to 1979 when the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) traveled to China to play two exhibition games against the Chinese National Team.
• Houston Rockets center and NBA All-Star Yao Ming is one of three players from China to have played in the NBA and the only current player. He was preceeded by Wang Zhizhi (originally signed by Dallas) and Mengke Bateer (originally signed by Denver)
• Yi Jianlian, a top prospect from China, is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and will potentially join countrymen Yao Ming as the only Chinese lottery picks in NBA history.
• During the summer of 2006 several NBA stars toured China to promote the sport of basketball or compete in international competition including, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Carmelo Anthony.
• China has a population of 1.3 billion people and a growing middle class.
• There are an equal amount of people in China who play basketball (300 million) as there are people living in the United States.
• 500 million people in China are 25 and under and 83% of people ages 15-24 say they are NBA fans (up from 75% last year).
• Basketball without Borders Asia will return to China for the third consecutive year and take place in Shanghai July 5-8. Charlotte Bobcats forward Matt Carroll , Golden State Warriors center Adonal Foyle , Chicago Bulls guard Chris Duhon, Houston Rockets guard Luther Head and Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen are scheduled to participate.
• The Divac Youth Basketball Camps presented by Li Ka Shing Foundation and NBA Cares, tipped off at Shantou University on August 3 and ran through Aug 18, traveling to Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Anshan.