NBA League Pass is coming to its biggest international market. The league announced a deal Thursday with Chinese mass media company Tencent to provide League Pass games and other content through the NBA-savvy market.
Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press and Richard Sandomir of The New York Times provided details on the announcement:
The deal was the NBA's second major media rights contract of the 2014-15 season. In October, the league announced a $24 billion deal with Turner Sports and the Walt Disney Co. that will keep the sport on ESPN/ABC and TNT through the 2024-25 season.
That alone has led to massive speculation about how far the NBA's salary cap will skyrocket. While minor in comparison, the Chinese deal will continue the rise in basketball-related revenue and help the league in its global expansion.
China has become the NBA's richest overseas market since the turn of the century, most notably with Yao Ming's arrival stateside. Voracious fan support soon followed, and the league has made consistent headway trying to expand in China—most notably with its Global Games.
“Nothing can be No. 1 at anything in the world unless it is No. 1 in China,” Silver told the Chinese media last year.
“So not only do the Global Games bring the NBA to China, but through broadcasting our games in China around the globe they also bring China to the rest of the world."
Under previous agreements, the NBA was available on multiple Chinese outlets. The new deal with Tencent allows it to concentrate its efforts and expand the League Pass brand. Tencent is currently the world's fifth-largest Internet company and largest in China, per Reuters.
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