SBD/October 10, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Warriors Expanding Marketing In China, Hope To Capitalize On S.F.'s Asian Presence

Warriors.com/China, which is in Chinese, is set to be unveiled today
The Warriors are expanding their marketing efforts internationally this week "in a huge way with the launch of a Chinese-language website and a presence on Weibo, China's largest microblogging service," according to Benny Evangelista of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The Warriors yesterday, on the eve of their first exhibition-season trip to China, "officially launched Weibo.com/Warriors on Sina Weibo, which has more than 500 million registered members using features similar to Twitter." The team today "will unveil Warriors.com/China, which is in Chinese." Both are "part of the team's efforts to court new basketball fans in Asia and from the Bay Area's sizable Asian American community." Warriors President & COO Rick Welts said that team ownership "still believes the franchise can become the main bridge between the NBA and Asia" despite Rockets G Jeremy Lin getting cut from the team two seasons ago. That China-U.S. connection currently "rests in Houston because of the popularity of retired Rockets center Yao Ming, from Shanghai, and Lin." The Warriors and Lakers next week are "headed to China to play in exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai," and "not coincidentally, they are the first NBA teams to launch Weibo accounts." Warriors F Harrison Barnes and G Stephen Curry "already have individual Weibo accounts." Teams like the Lakers, Bulls and Heat are "already popular internationally, which translates to increased merchandise sales," but that also is "because those franchises have won multiple NBA championships and featured well-known superstar players." Starting a social media effort that "gets past what is often called the Great Firewall of China could eventually play into expanding the team's reach internationally" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/10).

BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY? In S.F., Cote & Kane reported city Mayor Ed Lee will be in China during the Warriors' preseason tour, and so will Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. This comes as the Warriors are "in the midst" of trying to get a $1B-plus waterfront arena development project approved in S.F. (SFGATE.com, 10/9).
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