Yao talks up CBA's big potential

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, November 27, 2018
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Yao Ming dunks during a ceremony to announce Caterpillar as the CBA league's new official sponsor. At left is Chen Qihua, chairman of Caterpillar China.

Chinese Basketball Association President Yao Ming wants all CBA clubs to "earn more money" while expanding the league's experience and its commercial potential.

Yao was in Shanghai to announce Fortune 500 Company Caterpillar as the CBA league's new official sponsor.

"We are both 'doers' in our own spheres," Yao said, talking highly about the league's new partner. "We welcome Caterpillar to become a member of our family. CBA welcomes partners from all industries as long as we share the same value."

Though details about the sponsorship have not been unveiled, earlier reports had it that the threshold for CBA league official sponsorship is about 15 million yuan (US$2.16 million).

Yao, a former Houston Rockets player, is not only the CBA chief but also the president of CBA League (Beijing) Sports Co, in which the 20 CBA clubs own the majority of shares.

The company was authorized by the CBA to take charge of its commercial operation, including advertisement and broadcasting rights for the CBA league from the 2017-18 season.

According to their agreement, the company hands over 10 percent of its annual income to the CBA. The rest of the income is shared by the 20 CBA clubs after deducting the company's management cost and tax.

The new management format has raised the 23-year-old league's commercial potential and increased CBA clubs' income. The CBA league's commercial income is expected to surpass 1.25 billion yuan in the 2018-19 season — 800 million yuan from at least 17 sponsors at different levels and 450 million yuan from broadcasting rights.

New regulations have been enforced from this year's league — the 20 teams have been divided into four groups according to last season's ranking. Teams will play four games with each group rival (two home and two away). Teams from different groups will meet twice (home and away) as before.

Therefore, the total number of regular season games has risen to 46 from the previous 38 as the CBA bids to expand the league's exposure. Twelve teams will advance to the playoffs — two more than last year.

CBA League (Beijing) Sports Co has also delegated some of its commercial rights to the clubs and encouraged them in brand building.

Yao said he hopes the clubs will invest more in the future, including cultivation of young players as well as a positive league environment. "We should earn money (by running clubs, company and the league), but what's important is how we use the money. I hope CBA games, star players and clubs become popular discussion topics among the general public. The passion for the sport and league should be further increased."

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