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CBA: The game of China’s basketball market reform

Wednesday, 20 Jan 2016 18:00   |   By Pu Yang

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Going into the Chinese New Year, Beijing, the capital city of China, has been having a few freezing cold winter days this week. Regardless of the weather, however, the China Basketball Association (CBA) really draws some buzz whether on TV or on a variety of media channels. Ambitious owners of 18 of the basketball’s league’s twenty clubs, led by former NBA star Yao Ming,  currently in charge of Shanghai Sharks, agreed to set up a joint venture in Beijing, seeking wide-ranging commercial rights to manage China’s top-tier basketball league.

Following the voluntary move from the alliance of 18 private team owners, China’s governing body of the sport quickly took action. A spokesman of the Association revealed that they will lead the formation of an independent League Corporation responsible for the business development and event promotion for China‘s top tier basketball league.

This looks pretty much like an attack and defence exercise between clubs and the federation in contesting for the eligibility to operate China’s second biggest sports league when it comes to commercial development, players’ payment or the league’s professionalization. Fortunately, there is still plenty of potential for a win-win situation by gathering delegates from both sides to explore a more compatible approach towards a better league based on mutual benefits.

“Irrespective of whether it is the joint venture or a CBA Corporation, clubs and the CBA share the same interest on the way to drive league reform,” said Zhang Chi, the spokesman of the joint venture’s organizing committee.

Not coincidentally, Zhang Xiong, director of CBA’s Administrative Office, said the China Basketball Association welcome any thing that will benefit Chinese basketball. “From the perspective of reform objectives, the two sides can form a collaborative model if we can reach an agreement.

“Despite the gap still lying between China’s governing body of basketball and the CBA clubs in the details of reform, both sides seemingly lack the space to act separately as they could easily reach their limits in market resources, talent pool and administration.” So argues Yi Jiandong, vice president of Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics and a sports scholar.

Whatever happens, it appears that the Association has made the decision to launch a company which will independently take charge of the operation of the CBA league in the near future. Whether the new arm is set to incorporate a joint venture by the club owners, or the two sides are to comprise in some way, hopefully it won’t make the league’s reform go off track on its way from governmental administration to becoming market-oriented.

Source: The People’s Daily

Proofread by John Devlin.

Tags: reform,Chinese sports,CBA,Yao Ming

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