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Volume 21 No. 2
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NBA turns to WTA President Shoemaker to lead NBA China venture

The NBA is counting on newly hired NBA China CEO David Shoemaker’s experience in running the WTA out of Beijing to translate into more growth for the league’s China business.

“China is such a vast country and we are really just starting to penetrate the fan base,” said Heidi Ueberroth, president of NBA International. “In David, we got a proven business leader who will be a great complement to the existing team.”

Shoemaker has worked at the WTA since 2004.
Shoemaker, president of the WTA, replaces Tim Chen, who resigned as NBA China CEO in September. Shoemaker is no stranger to China’s sports marketing business. In 2008, he was responsible for opening the WTA’s Asia-Pacific office in Beijing. He has worked for the WTA since 2004.

“I have been able to witness firsthand the immense popularity of basketball and the success of the NBA in China,” Shoemaker said. “I look forward to building on the impressive infrastructure already in place and leading the league and the game of basketball to new heights in the country.”

NBA China was launched in January 2008 with a $253 million investment from Walt Disney Co., Bank of China Group Investment, Legend Holdings Ltd, Li Ka Shing Foundation and China Merchants Investments in return for an 11 percent stake in the company. NBA China now has a staff of more than 140 employees and, along with partner AEG, runs arenas in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“We are seeing more growth and are taking it city by city,” Ueberroth said of NBA China’s AEG partnership.
NBA China will rely on Shoemaker to deepen ties between the NBA and Chinese basketball officials.

“The biggest challenge is working with key political and basketball leaders throughout the country,” said Bruce O’Neil, president of the United States Basketball Academy, which is an adviser to the Chinese Basketball Association.

Shoemaker reports to Ueberroth and to the NBA China board of directors.

Steve Richard, who served as interim CEO of NBA China, will resume his job as CFO of NBA China.