INTERNATIONAL - The National Basketball Association will offer fans in China original programming and an easier way to buy league gear through e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the league announced on Wednesday.
For the first time, NBA China will create content for Alibaba users. Game highlights, classic games and the new content - along with league merchandise - will be accessible to Alibaba’s nearly 700 million consumers across all its platforms through a dedicated “NBA section,” the NBA said.
The move is part of a continuing expansion by U.S. sports leagues in overseas markets.
The NBA in particular has seen success in China since it opened its first office outside of North America in 1992 in Hong Kong, with internet companies in the basketball-crazed nation competing for media content.
In 2015, the NBA struck a five-year deal making Tencent Holdings Ltd the only company in China to offer the NBA’s League Pass package, which allows subscribers to watch a full season’s worth of games live and on-demand.