HomeBasketballNBA, Ant Group Announce Partnership To Increase Fan Engagement In China

NBA, Ant Group Announce Partnership To Increase Fan Engagement In China

NBA, Ant Group Announce Partnership To Increase Fan Engagement In China

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Ant Group have announced a partnership to provide Chinese fans with the opportunity to have access to NBA video content as well as work on different projects including broadcasting, membership, joint marketing campaigns, digital collectibles and more.

Alipay, a payment app owned by Ant Group, will showcase user-generated content from NBA China’s network of influencers and Alipay’s authorised content creators through a channel created last week by NBA China.

NBA’s presence in the Chinese market has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, as it being one of the United States’ most popular cultural exports to China.

However, NBA’s long-time partnership with Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) has been negatively affected in recent years.

When former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed his support for anti-government protestors in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong in 2019, China condemned Morey’s tweet and NBA games were pulled from CCTV shortly after.

The CCTV stopped showing shows immediately which eventually became an eighteen-month blackout.

NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver said in June that the league lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of the blackout but supported the NBA’s commitment to free speech.

“If the consequences are that we’re taken off the air or we lose money, we accept that,” Silver said.

Commenting on criticisms, Silver also commented on NBA’s business relationship with China and their human rights abuses of the Uyghur population.

“From a policy standpoint, virtually every Fortune 100 company is doing business in China.”

“We have an enormous, humongous trade relationship with China. Virtually all the phones in this room, the clothes you are wearing, the shoes you are wearing, are made in China. From a larger societal standpoint, this is something where we have to look to the U.S. government for direction,” Silver said.

NBA fans in China can access games at a closer level, before Morey’s comments in 2019, according to the league’s viewership data.

This announcement comes after Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Capital expressed interest in buying NBA teams.

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