Stern Foresees Double-Digit Growth For NBA's Business In China
NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league's business in China is expected to grow "double digits as far into the future as we can see.” He noted the NBA could earn $150M this year in China. Stern, during an appearance on Bloomberg TV, said there also are “several non-revenue components” to what the league is doing in China that are “equally important.” This includes “basketball grassroots development” and “social responsibility” in terms of getting children active and healthy. Stern said the league has a “huge digital presence” in the country and since ’08, “I would say we’ve quadrupled our revenues” from merchandise sales. He noted the NBA partnered with adidas, which carries its merchandise and apparel in the company’s 6,000-plus stores in China, while the league also grew its e-commerce business. Stern said the e-commerce business “really didn’t even exist in 2008 and the one thing we pride ourselves on is being able to respond to moving developments in the market and clearly, adidas and e-commerce are two fast-moving developments.” The new NBA Center outside Beijing will be “a combination of store, restaurant, fitness, basketball court, kid’s center and an interactive jam session experience, just sort of an NBA immersion.” Stern: “We’re working on several others in Asia to continue that trend. It’s sort of a permanent attraction that says NBA.”
SPREADING ITS ROOTS: Stern said he would not start a league in China, but instead focus on “developing our partnership” with the Chinese Basketball Association and maybe start a league “in partnership” with the CBA. But Stern said starting leagues elsewhere in Asia “is possible.” Stern said of the league’s expansion plans, “India is a very different market than China. Its basketball intensity is much lower. He added the “few things we’ve done there at a grassroots level” from the NBA’s Mumbai office “indicates there’s a huge potential market that we’re going to begin growing the same way we did in China.” The league’s “television has increased dramatically in India” along with its Internet presence and “we’re seeing a lot of interest.” Stern: “So we think that India is going to be another case of a start-up market that’s only going to go up” (“Asia’s Business,” Bloomberg TV, 12/14).