The National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking to deepen its engagement in China, extending its digital partnership with Tencent Holdings Limited.
The exclusive official digital partnership, was announced on Sunday announced a five-year expansion of the existing partnership that will see Tencent – the NBA’s largest partner outside the U.S. – provide extensive NBA coverage on its platforms through the 2024-25 NBA season, including live NBA games, NBA programming and interactive fan experiences.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver commented: “Tencent’s commitment to NBA basketball in China is unparalleled. The enormous reach and popularity of Tencent’s platforms have been a driving force behind the growth of basketball in China, and we look forward to deepening our connection with NBA fans across the country through this expanded partnership.”
Tencent, the digital media partner of the NBA in China since 2009, has streamed full seasons of live NBA games and content to its hundreds of millions of daily users under the current partnership that began in 2015. Tencent and the NBA also jointly manage and operate several other NBA services and activities in China, including NBA-themed mobile games, NBA social media accounts, and interactive fan events.
Last season, 490 million fans in China watched NBA programming on Tencent’s platforms, nearly three times the number of fans who watched the NBA on Tencent during the 2014-15 season. 21 million fans in China watched Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Tencent, marking the most-watched NBA game ever on a digital platform in China.
Tencent President Martin Lau added: “We believe that the enhanced partnership between the NBA and Tencent will take our phenomenal success to new heights. Empowered by our technology capabilities, interactive platforms and content expertise, we will work closely with the NBA to further engage fans in China with sports excitement and technology innovations to elevate the passion for basketball, and to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Under the expanded partnership, live NBA games, video on-demand and short video content will be available for fans through Tencent’s digital and social media platforms including QQ.com, Tencent Sports, Tencent News, Tencent Video, QQ, Weixin and Weshi. Tencent will also collaborate with the NBA to develop innovative advertising products, and launch and operate “mini programs” for mobile devices, including the NBA’s fan loyalty program in China: NBA Qiu Mi Quan (QMQ). In addition, Tencent will leverage its consumer insights to help the NBA expand its fanbase in China and provide the league’s global fanbase with new, customized interactive services.