The National Basketball Association (NBA) concluded it first-ever Chinese New Year Celebration by reaching 96 million cumulative viewers through the league's television and digital platforms in China, according to a release of the NBA China on Friday.
The inaugural week-long NBA Chinese New Year Celebration paid tribute to the league's Chinese fan base with a 21-game broadcast schedule, customized content, and a variety of Chinese New Year-themed events in China and the US from January 21-28.
NBA legend Yao Ming was quoted as saying in the release: "I may have retired from the NBA in 2011, but it's clear to me that the NBA is as popular as ever, led by today's superstars like Kobe, LeBron, Kevin Durant, and Tim Duncan."
The games were broadcast on NBA's television partners in China including CCTV 5, BTV, GDTV and GZTV, and earned a total of 79 million cumulative viewers. NBA live games and special programming on Sina and Tencent were seen by 17 million cumulative viewers.
"It was great to celebrate the Year of the Dragon alongside all of our fans in China," said David Shoemaker, NBA China CEO.
"Thanks to the support of our partners, we were able to create comprehensive NBA television and digital programming that reflected the excitement among our fans for the Chinese New Year celebrations."
As a part of the NBA' s Chinese New Year Celebration, the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors each hosted in-arena Chinese New Year celebrations. They each included themed fan activities paying tribute to Chinese culture and the players wore specially designed Chinese New Year shooting shirts from adidas, the league's official on court apparel outfitter.
In China, the festivities culminated on a high note with a standing room only fan viewing party in the 798 Art District of Beijing. More than 300 fans gathered to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Golden State Warriors and enjoyed NBA and Chinese New Year-themed entertainment.
In addition to live game action delivered by CCTV 5, Sina and Tencent posted live tweets capturing the sights, sounds, color, and passion of NBA fans at the party.