The National Basketball Association has licensed China’s Tencent to be its partner in digital content for the next five years in China.
Effective on July 1, the deal recognizes Tencent’s huge position in Internet social networking and commerce in the world’s most populous market. As the exclusive digital partner of the NBA in China, Tencent will record a number of live NBA games and deliver the programming to its audiences. The content will include exhibition and regular-season games, the all-star game, the playoffs, the finals, the summer league, and the draft. Tencent will have the rights to air that content on personal computers and mobile devices.
The NBA has a global following, and China is a hotbed for professional basketball. It has its own leagues, and “The Association” garnered attention during the career of Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, the Chinese star who played in the NBA from 2002 to 2011. Los Angeles Lakers guard Jeremy Lin, a California native, has also drawn Chinese fans.
NBA live games and content will be available for fans to access through Tencent’s NBA sections on QQ.com, v.QQ.com, QQ and Mobile QQ, Qzone, Weixin, Tencent Video app, and Tencent News app. Tencent and the NBA will also launch the first-ever NBA League Pass in China, providing fans with access to a full season of live and on-demand NBA games online and via mobile devices.
“The NBA represents both a widely-followed sport and an active healthy way of life in China,” said Tencent president Martin Lau in a statement. “This multi-year agreement enables us to bring substantially more NBA games and content to consumers than has ever been available in the past, and we look forward to working with the NBA league, teams and players to further enhance the sport’s profile and popularity.”
Tencent and the NBA will also jointly manage and operate the NBA’s digital assets in China, including the official NBA online destination NBA.com/China and sites for all 30 NBA teams, NBA events, and merchandise. And Tencent will launch the NBA Game Time app on mobile devices.
Lastly, the NBA and Tencent will unveil the NBA Community including an NBA dedicated gaming section within the Tencent Games platform, a more integrated social commerce platform, and a premium subscription service offering registered users special access to NBA content on Tencent. Tencent will also develop NBA-themed interactive games on its platforms.