Heat-Clippers NBA China Game Gets Rave Reviews, Strong Sponsor Support
Thursday's Heat-Clippers exhibition in Beijing -- the first of two as part of the NBA China Games 2012 -- "was a huge success," according to Joseph Goodman of the MIAMI HERALD. The game was a sellout of more than 17,000 and the MasterCard Center's "bandwidth lurched and strained under the constant stream of social media." Tickets to get in were "selling outside the area for as much as $1,500 apiece." Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, "This was not a normal preseason game atmosphere." Fans were given "bags of swag before the game and inside those bags were large foam disks." The disks "became Frisbees and began flying by the thousands around the arena and onto the court." Game officials "had to briefly pause the game." Heat F Shane Battier said, "It reminded me of the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park when they had Disco Demolition Night. Luckily they weren't serving alcohol because it could have turned ugly" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/12). CNN's Jaime FlorCruz noted just a few minutes into the game, Heat F LeBron James scored five straight points, punctuated by a big dunk to the "delight of the thousands of Chinese fans who packed the arena in Beijing chanting 'MVP, MVP.'" Local fans were "treated to an NBA-style mix of basketball and entertainment, featuring cheerleaders, mascots and DJs egging the crowds to applaud and do 'the wave'" (CNN.com, 10/12).
OVERWHELMING SUPPORT: CHINA DAILY notes the exhibitions have "received unprecedented support from its marketing partners." adidas, China Mobile, Dongfeng Fengshen, Emirates, Gatorade, Harbin Beer, Mengniu, SAP, Sprite, Subway and Visa "conducted a variety of events, consumer sweepstakes and media and retail promotions that have allowed thousands of lucky fans the opportunity to attend the games and millions of fans the chance to experience the NBA." NBA China also will host "its first Fan Appreciation Day" Saturday with the help of sponsors China Mobile, Gatorade and Sprite (CHINA DAILY, 10/12).
GLOBALIZING THE GAME: In N.Y., David Barboza reports the NBA Thursday announced that it "planned to build a giant sports and entertainment complex on the outskirts of Beijing." The NBA Center -- a "basketball extravaganza that will include a gym and an NBA-themed cafe, a restaurant and a store as well as an interactive gaming area and a children’s zone -- will be placed at the center of a $1.5 billion, 800-hectare, or 2,000-acre, property development being built by a Chinese company." The NBA "declined to say how much it was investing in the center but said it would be the first of several it planned to set up throughout China" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).