The Unfinished Dream of NBA China
(8 pages of text)
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most successful sports leagues in the world. Under the leadership of David Stern, the NBA has undergone unprecedented globalization. An NBA game in 2007 between the Rockets and Bucks — featuring the meeting of two Chinese players — drew an estimated 250 million television viewers in China. In 2008, a local, independent company, NBA China, was created and majority-controlled by the NBA, taking the NBA’s business in China to the next level. Up until now, China has been the NBA’s number one market outside the United States by a large margin. However, nothing comes easily. Social networking services have developed quickly, redefining how fans watch games and interact with each other; the traditional merchandise strategy based on franchised stores is being challenged by booming online businesses; the annual NBA China Games are no longer able to satiate Chinese fans’ growing appetite for games; relations with the government-affiliated Chinese Basketball Association are tense; and no Chinese have played in the NBA since Yao Ming’s retirement. Facing all these challenges in a nation with an entirely foreign system and culture, what should the new CEO of NBA China do?
This case can be used in modules on strategic management, international strategy, strategic marketing management, sports management and business policy. The case offers students the opportunity to look at sports not only as an entertainment, but also as a dynamic and profitable industry in which large amounts of money and strategizing are involved. A number of topics can be covered in class depending on the focus of the course, including foreign market selection and entry, international strategic options and implementation, and marketing in emerging economies.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
China, Large, 2008
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