SBD/Issue 162/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA, AEG To Partner To Develop, Operate Up To 12 Arenas In China

NBA Teaming With AEG To Operate
Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena 
The NBA and AEG will partner to "develop and operate up to 12 arenas in China, representing another key step in the NBA's vision for its own league in Asia," according to a cover story by John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The move will add "more facilities to the global expansion effort" under AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. The effort, which is not yet finalized, builds on an existing NBA and AEG partnership to run the 18,000-seat basketball arena being built for this summer's Beijing Olympics, under which the two companies will "jointly operate, manage and book the facility" after the Games. Sources said that the NBA and AEG now are expanding that deal to include "other arenas throughout mainland China." The companies are expected to partner in "pursuing an arena and possible neighboring development in Shanghai," and other possible cities including Nanjing and Guangzhou. Neither the NBA nor AEG would comment on the deal, which is expected to be announced "within weeks" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/12 issue).

GOLDEN TICKET: Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said of last week's deal in which AEG bought a stake in Golden Boy, "We don't have an exclusivity deal with them. We did that deliberately because we have longtime partnerships in Las Vegas that we don't want to see end. I have a very close relationship with [MGM Mirage President of Sports & Entertainment Richard Sturm], and we plan to continue to do business with [him]." In Las Vegas, Steve Carp wrote with AEG's $500M, 20,000-seat arena not scheduled to open until 2010, it would "be suicide for Golden Boy to cut ties with MGM Mirage or any other Las Vegas entity right now." Sturm "didn't seem worried about the AEG-Golden Boy venture." Sturm said in a statement, "We have a great relationship with Golden Boy Promotions, and we look forward to many years of hosting successful events with them" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/11).

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