Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and Pac-12 have entered a collaboration to bring the basketball games to China. The basketball season would start in China from November 14 when Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai plays host to the University of Washington Huskies versus the University of Texas Longhorns match. The other matches have yet to get finalized, and dates would be soon out.
Under the deal, Alibaba has bagged the broadcast rights for China while ESPN would air the game in the U.S. This is the first time that China will play host to the U.S. sports league. Alibaba stated that over 300 million Chinese were crazy about the basketball game, and the move was going to help the company expand its reach. The online streaming of the games will allow the basketball fans to catch up on the matches while on the go and is going to help Alibaba tackle competition from other domestic players like JD.com.
First U.S. League In China
According to Pac-12 officials, China has been hosting exhibition games before, but not from the U.S. The deal would help churn out excessive revenues for both the partners and is currently for six months.
The partnership aims at exploring the lucrative sports market of China and is also going to be a promotion of the American education. The Institute of International Education revealed that over 275,000 students from China enrolled in U.S. educational institutes in the 2013-14 session. Commissioner of Pac-12, Larry Scott said that the cultural exchange programs through sports were an excellent platform for the students.
Building U.S.-China Relationship
Alibaba spokesperson Jim Wilkinson said that the aim of the partnership went beyond basketball and building the U.S. and China trade relations was the main objective that the company was looking to achieve. The company is already selling sports merchandise and the broadcast of the games at the digital and mobile devices, is going to be a new milestone, aimed to increase the turnover.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA)a is currently looking at strategies that can help it retain the top slot in the Chinese market and to diversify into other global markets too. Currently, the company is getting only 5% revenue from outside China and statistics are going to change soon.