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The strategic partnership will see the two parties pull their resources together, in such areas as video content, membership, as well as program broadcasting.
Chinese fintech giant Ant Group has announced a new partnership with the prestigious basketball league NBA. According to the Tuesday announcement, the strategic partnership will see the two parties pull their resources together, in areas such as video content, membership, as well as program broadcasting.
Ant Group Reveals the Aims of the Partnership with NBA
Per a statement, video content will now be accessible to NBA fans in China via Alipay – an Ant Group-owned platform. Furthermore, it is expected that both Ant Group and the NBA will later carry out joint marketing campaigns to launch digital collectibles among other projects. And lastly, the partnership also seeks to create social responsibility initiatives. This will help to bring more engagement and inclusiveness to its growing fans and communities.
Speaking about the new partnership, Ant Group Chief Technology Officer, Ni Xingjun says there is no better time for the move than now. He wrote in part:
“Bringing NBA’s high-quality content and content creators into our platform is an important step for Alipay to embrace the content ecosystem as an open platform.”
An NBA Fans Delight
For what it’s worth, the NBA remains one of America’s biggest exports to China. That is because the professional basketball league rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the Chinese market. At least, up until October 2019 when the long years of partnership with national broadcaster CCTV became severed.
The decision to stop showing NBA games altogether resulted from a Daryl Morey tweet and the resulting backlash. Morey, who was then, the general manager of the basketball club Houston Rockets had tweeted in support of Hong Kong anti-government protests at the time. Though the post was later taken down, it didn’t sit well with the government, thus resulting in the decision that led to the 18-month blackout.
Now, however, normalcy appears to be gradually returning to NBA broadcasts in China. As reported by Reuters in December, the league’s viewership data suggests that China-based fans are back watching NBA games. And they are not just doing so, but at levels close to where they were before the 2019 incident.