Rarely does the NBA miss the chance at marketing gold.
A major part of the league's growing popularity has been the globalization of the brand. The NBA preseason has become more of a world tour. Eight teams have held exhibitions in six countries this season, including the first-ever preseason action in Brazil and the Philippines.
One of those teams, the Golden State Warriors, has plans to bring part of that global fair back home. After trips to Beijing and Shanghai this preseason, the Warriors are looking for further entry into the Asian basketball market.
Per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Warriors are planning on adding a Chinese New Year jersey to their uniform collection this season. The NBA would need to approve the new jerseys before they could be worn in an NBA game.
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee spoke on his city's burgeoning basketball market and the way it has taken to its rising franchise, via Simmons:
I know that people do get excited when Jeremy Lin comes to town and when it used to be Yao Ming, but I think the Warriors have really come alive within the Asian community at large...They're exhibiting a world knowledge while combining it with basketball and philanthropy, and it's just fantastic.
For the team, this is just the latest step in an attempt to further embrace its growing Asian fanbase.
The Warriors have held an Asian Heritage Night and celebrated the Chinese New Year in each of the past three seasons:
More Chinese New Year festivities as Cherng Loong Lion/Dragon Dancers perform at halftime. pic.twitter.com/LgsuNEIo— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) February 13, 2013
The team also recently started a Weibo social-media account and launched a Chinese-translated website:
San Francisco's population is 35.8 percent Asian-American, according to NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper. According to Warriors team president Rick Welts, via Howard-Cooper, Asians account for 13 percent of Warriors' season-ticket sales.
Building the brand is always a good idea for any business.
But doing it in a way that promotes social diversity and cultural acceptance is something that all fans of this global game should appreciate. Cross your fingers for that league approval; I can't wait to see the design that the Warriors have put together.