RealTime IT News

NBA.com Jacks Up Chinese Language Site

Thanks in part to the success of Houston Rockets' 7-foot-5-inch Chinese center Yao Ming, the official Web site for the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Wednesday that it has launched a Chinese language site.

NBA.com launched the destination, which features most of the characteristics of the league's other sites, including audio, statistics and text content. Chinese Internet portal SOHU has agreed to translate, host, publish and promote the site in China for an undisclosed sum.

NBA.com/china will provide fans with extensive NBA coverage, including the NBA All-Star Game, NBA Draft and special events, including offseason trades and breaking news. Other features include live statistics for all games, top statistical leaders, player profiles, team standings and comprehensive pages on every NBA team, as well as daily video highlights, complete recaps and game box scores.

"The core audiences for the Internet and the NBA in China correlate very well," said Michael B. Denzel, Vice President and Managing Director, NBA Asia, Limited. "Besides bringing the NBA and our fans in China closer together, NBA.com/china also offers exceptional new marketing opportunities for the NBA's business partners -- in China, across the region, and globally."

How big is basketball in China? An estimated 250 million Chinese take part in basketball competitions, according to government officials. Moreover, the NBA's popularity and television viewership have reached all-time highs in China, according to recent consumer research: 63 of both males and females aged 15-24, now consider themselves fans of the NBA.

While it's no secret China's Yao Ming is making waves in the NBA (as a rookie trying to adjust to the U.S., he is averaging 12.9 points, along with 8.0 rebounds per contest), he is hardly the only international player to perform at a high level in the professional basketball league. The NBA currently employs a record 67 international players from 35 countries and territories on NBA rosters this season.

The new Chinese destination compliments NBA.com's other four international Web sites, including Spanish, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom.