Tuesday, 18 Oct 2016 19:31 | By Mei Zhu
On the evening of October 12th, the NBA China Games between Houston Rockets (HOU) and New Orleans Pelicans (NOP) ended in Wukesong Stadium. These games have been held almost annually since 2004 and this was the tenth edition.
Looking back at these ten China Games, almost all sessions had a certain selling point. Right at the beginning the first session was really hot. Many spectators came and gave an overwhelming response because Chinese players, such as Yao Ming and Liu Wei, participated in the game and it was the first session of the NBA China Games. A few years ago, when no Chinese players appeared on the court, NBA began to bring the top teams like the champions Miami Heat and the hottest star Kobe Bryant to China. To a large extent, this kind of quality helped the NBA China Games maintain a high level. Moreover, it inspired Chinese fans to watch the game again.
Air Jordan, an irreplaceable player in the minds of Chinese fans, came to the NBA China Games last year and this was the biggest selling point of the session. As the boss of Hornets, Jordan appeared around the court, which also satisfied Chinese fans a lot. And this year, NBA brought the most popular team, Houston Rockets, to China, which showed that NBA put in a big effort to arrange the game.
Another thing special about this year was that they arranged a preseason game between Houston Rockets and Shanghai Sharks. It was the first time in history that a team from the CBA played a preseason game with a team from the NBA. “We are glad to see more Chinese teams playing against NBA teams, which is one of the great ways to promote NBA in China." Xiao Hua, president of the NBA, said.
NBA attach great importance to Chinese fans and the Chinese market. Both have given NBA a very positive response in return. Previously, Tatum, vice president of the NBA, said in an interview that NBA hit a record high in terms of the social media fans, the number of spectators and the number of partners, etc.
Last season, seven hundred million viewers watched NBA games through CCTV. The China tournament ranked only behind the Chinese national team and the men's singles final in the CCTV ratings last year. This data, to a certain extent, showed NBA has a bright future in China.
Tatum said, "We will continue to pay great attention to the Chinese market because of the enthusiasm of Chinese fans for NBA. Even though the NBA's annual growth rate remained double-digit, we will continue to pay a lot of attention to the Chinese market, since there is still a huge potential market in the country.
In fact, if NBA intends s to develop more rapidly in China, they will have more Chinese players showing in the NBA arena. Now, Yi Jianlian has returned to the NBA. This year, Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin are also expected to join NBA through the draft, which may become the "accelerator” for NBA promotion in China. But, at the same time, another important job for NBA is to strengthen the cooperation between the CBA, the local sports bureaux and educational institutions to find more Chinese basketball talent.
Xiao Hua said NBA will establish elite training centers in Zhejiang, Xinjiang and Shandong to provide professional basketball training for young Chinese basketball players so that growth can be accelerated. He went on to state "This is just the beginning of our program and there will be more elite training centers in the future."
Proofread by Sean O Diobhilin