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WCBA to set off on a new stage

Thursday, 09 Nov 2017 20:29   |   By Nong Ruowen

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In its first season since splitting from China’s General Sports Administration, the Chinese Basketball Association CBA League has taken a major step on the road to reform

The Women’s Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) League has also embraced a new set of changes which will take place in the upcoming new season. 

More about these changes can be found in the latest article released on the CBA’s official websites. Here are the highlights.

1. Teams

In the new season, the WCBA will engage two more teams bringing the total number of teams to 14. These were also the best 14 teams in the 2017/18 WCBA qualifiers with Shaanxi Tianze Women’s Basketball Club making their debut in WCBA this year. 

The other highlight is that Bayi Women’s Basketball Club will move to Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, from their current home of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. 

2. Schedule

The 2017/18 WCBA will include a 26-round regular season and playoffs, as well as a 2-day All-Star event starting on January 20, 2018. 

The regular season games and playoffs will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The regular season will start on November 13, 2017, and each team will face their opponents twice in a season. The top 8 teams will enter the playoffs. 

The full schedule of this WCBA edition will cover 217 games, 8 games less than last year. 

3. Players

267 players have been registered for the upcoming new season of the WCBA, including 5 players from Chinese Taipei and 4 players coming for short-term deals. Except for the two teams with military backgrounds, the remaining 12 teams have recruited foreign players for the new season. 

Reportedly, all of these foreign players have played in the WNBA with some of them having competed for Team US women’s basketball team. 

4. Referees

For this new season, the WCBA will establish a system to develop and select referees for the league. In terms of the current referees, the league will also improve their salary and enhance services for them. 

Another thing to watch out for in the upcoming season, is that only the chief referee at each game will have the right to use the video playback system, as last season the head coaches of each team also had the right to review video playback. 

5. Philanthropic activities

To promote the positive image of the league and players outside the courts, the WCBA will continue to launch a philanthropic plan for disadvantaged people in China and requires each team to organize activities in line with the plan.  

6. Media 

Broadcasting and media reporting of the league are also two major priorities for the 2017/18 WCBA. 

In terms of broadcasting, the league has enhanced their partnership with both traditional linear TV and online broadcasting platforms. The WCBA has strengthened their partnership with China Central Television (CCTV) network. In the new season, the network will broadcast 20 league games, 9 games more than last season. 

As for the online broadcasting platform, the Chinese Basketball Association has engaged a group of internet-based media for the new edition of the WCBA, including Tencent Sports, Sina Sports, Sohu Sports, NetEase Sports, Hupu Sports and Baofeng Sports. 

Among these platforms, Tencent Sports will assist in the production of the signal of over 80 league games and broadcast them. The other five platforms will simply act as the official broadcasters of the 2017/18 WCBA. Next season, these platforms will broadcast nearly 300 games in total. 

The association also set out specific requirements for each team to provide press releases about the WCBA, which is also a new feature in the official brochure and is connected with a reward and punishment system. 

Additionally, the league will identify and develop three to five “super stars” who have produced outstanding performances on the courts and have good personalities and appearance making them popular among the WCBA fans. 

Conclusions: 

Compared to the recent situation over the years, it is not hard to see that the league  is making a big difference and are ready to set off on a new stage. 

For now, what the league exactly needs might be “to be more widely known and watched by Chinese fans”, which is the precondition for any league to consider their next step. 

Regarding this fact, the WCBA’s actions in media seems to be a good approach in achieving this goal. However, whether the games are worth watching, or whether the games are appealing to basketball fans might be the essential thing to determine the value of any league. 

Given the current situation of the WCBA, the league still has a long way to go to be a premium women’s basketball league, although it has taken its first step in its quest.  

Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick

Tags: WCBA

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