Chinese online giant Tencent has signed a deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to extend their partnership in China by five years and create the league's largest international digital partnership.
Under the deal, which takes effect from July 1, Tencent will become the exclusive official digital broadcasting partner of the NBA in China and will feature a record number of live NBA games, as well as enhanced programming and highlights.
"The NBA represents both a widely-followed sport and an active healthy way of life in China,"Martin Lau, president of Tencent said in a statement. "This multi-year agreement enables us to bring substantially more NBA games and content to consumers than has even been available in the past, and we look forward to working with the NBA league, teams and players to further enhance the sport’s profile and popularity."
There are more than 300 million people who play basketball in China, retired Houston Rockets player Yao Ming is still one of the most popular people in the country, and there are statues of U.S. ballers in public parks.
The programming will include NBA preseason and regular-season games, NBA All-Star, the NBA Playoffs, The Finals, NBA Summer League and the NBA Draft.
"NBA fans in China are among the most passionate and knowledgeable basketball fans in the world, and we are thrilled to partner with Tencent to further grow the game," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. "Tencent is the most valuable brand in China, and their extensive reach will give our fans more access to experience the excitement of the NBA."
Chinese fans can access the games through Tencent’s NBA sections on Tencent's services, which include QQ, Weixin, Tencent Video app and Tencent News app.
Original title by The Hollywood Reporter: China's Tencent Extends NBA Digital Broadcasting Pact