October 8, Shanghai – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that “the value of NBA’s sports” is the reason why NBA’s partners want to cooperate with the league.
“What we hear is that they partner with us because of the value of our sports,” Silver said in the media round table hosted before the NBA China Games 2017, where Yutang Sports attended.
“They know the NBA signifies high quality. It stands for integrity. In our DNA, they know the NBA stands for fitness and a healthy diet. In addition, our players provide joy and entertainment to fans. I think it is the combination of all those things that causes them to want to associate with us.”
The wide-ranging interview covered Silver’s opinions on bringing NBA games to China, the goal of Jr. NBA, NBA’s relationship with partners, drawing new fans’ attention for future games and NBA’s new jersey.
Silver explained that the beginning of the strategy to bring NBA games to China was “the decision of the founder of the game of basketball, James Naismith, who had a belief that this was the game which should spread in the state of Massachusetts, throughout United States and the world.”
Silver was referring to the former commissioner of the first ever television deal negotiated by the former commissioner David Stern and China’s CCTV in 1987, which was regarded as an important opportunity to “expand Naismith’s vision and bring the NBA games to the home of Chinese people.” It was this close partnership that made the NBA begin to explore what they took to bring NBA games to China.
The next influencer for NBA’s promotion in China following Naismith and Stern, according to Silver, is Yao Ming.
“Yao Ming becoming the number one pick in the draft and the fact that he was an incredible player and an outstanding person, I think, he put the game to a new level in China. Then we saw that we could open an office and a second office, and really began to expand our partnerships in China.”
When Silver was asked whether there was any secret of NBA or NBA China to maintain and expand the relationship with partners, he denied the existence of the “secret”.
“I wish there were some secrets that I could share. But I would say if there is a secret that I learned during my 25 years of NBA and directly from David Stern is hard work. It’s a combination of hard work and building relationships.”
By referring the partnership with NIKE and CCTV again, Silver disclosed that the crucial idea for building and maintaining these relationships was “listening to these partners, trying to understand their thinking and to achieve it.”
While facing the question of whether the goal of Jr. NBA in China was to discover another Yao Ming or more and more young fans, Silver expressed that “it is not the question of finding the next Yao, but developing the next Yao”, which was part of the goal of this program.
“We begin working at the youth level to develop great players. We develop them physically and mentally to put them in the position to play basketball at the highest level, which may mean that they can play for the Chinese national teams or the CBA, or perhaps even for the NBA as well.”
The other purposes of the program, according to Silver, are to developing a culture around basketball.
“We know that it is true in the world if you play basketball as a young boy or a young girl, you are many times more likely to want to follow this sport when you are grown up. So we do our junior programs for many reasons to develop elite players and also to develop future fans.”
Silver also stated that technology would be a key to attract and engage more fans for the NBA in the future, with AR, VR and technology for connecting fans and the league via mobile phones being mentioned.
One of the most attractive things in the upcoming season is the new jersey for the league. Alongside the design and technology of these jerseys, Silver introduced the reason why NBA decided to put partners’ logos on the jerseys.
“We think it is an opportunity with our marketing partners to bring the game to more fans. For example, the GSW wear the jerseys with Japanese Company Rakuten’s logo. When they add their logo to the jersey, Rakuten is then to do enormous marketing of the NBA in Japan. So we think it helps to amplify our message partnering with great brands. And we see other NBA jerseys, we have GE, a great global company, we have Disney and Goodyear. So we have many great brands that they will do great marketing around these relationships. ”
“And just a last point – the logo of the marketing companies here with Nike swoosh,” Silver said, “It is a sign of quality and style.”
Proofread by William Logsdon