View Full Version : NBA to Build Arenas in China

10-12-2008, 06:28 PM
NBA plan huge arenas in China
Source: Yahoo! Eurosport (UK) (http://eurosport.yahoo.com/12102008/58/nba-nba-plan-huge-arenas-china.html)
Billionaire businessman Philip Anschutz's AEG entertainment firm and the NBA announce they will develop and operate NBA-style arenas across China.

The deal between Anschutz, 68, and NBA China, the league's subsidiary for Chinese business matters, launches a joint venture that will work with the Chinese government to oversee the design of world-class arenas.

The move, in development for a year and rumoured for several months, follows an NBA-AEG deal to manage and operate the 18,000-seat Wukesong Indoor Stadium where US NBA stars won Beijing Olympic gold in August.

"We are excited to partner with AEG in China where the popularity of basketball creates enormous opportunity," NBA commissioner David Stern said.

"We will work with every level of government and the private sector to create NBA-style sports and entertainment facilities that will anchor communities and grow the sport of basketball throughout China."

Revenues from the arenas would be split with the Chinese government and the partnership, an equally owned organisation, will provide both AEG and the NBA with a greater reach into the world's most populated nation.

AEG, which already owns several major US arenas, would have new venues for its entertainment operations, with concerts, cultural shows, conventions and other family-oriented events having new homes in major cities across China.

The NBA, already wildly popular in China, would have a new set of arenas to launch a possible pan-Asian league or venues that could lead to an NBA-operated Chinese league or greater ties with the Chinese Basketball Association.

In many areas, the arenas would be built near existing cultural and entertainment areas with hotels, restaurants, shops, cinemas and sport training facilities.

"The league's vision will re-define how the world views sports in the next decade," said Timothy Leiweke, AEG's president and chief executive.

"(This project) will absolutely be one of the biggest and most important initiatives AEG has ever undertaken."

The joint venture will handle such details as city and site selection, design and development, securing teams to play in the arenas, sponsorship deals including arena naming rights and personnel hirings.

Talks began last October at an NBA exhibition game in London's O2 Arena, an AEG facility just as is the new O2 World Arena in Berlin and the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers.

"AEG is the established leader in global arena development as evidenced by its state-of-the-art facilities in Los Angeles, London and Berlin," Stern said.

Leiweke sees the economic growth for average Chinese citizens as a major reason why now is the time to make such a move even in the face of a global finance crisis.

"We view China as an exciting marketplace with a growing appetite for sports and entertainment," he said.