On February 21, NBA China and Chinese fintech firm Ant Group announced a strategic partnership to create original online content and customized experiences for fans on Alipay, a leading digital wallet platform in China. This project marks the first time that fans in China will have access to NBA video content on Alipay.
The two parties will create customized experiences for NBA fans and users on Ant Group’s platforms through jointly developed original video content, joint membership, NBA mini-programs, joint marketing campaigns, digital collectibles, and social responsibility initiatives designed to engage fans and communities.
As part of the partnership, on February 15, NBA China launched an NBA channel on the Alipay platform with a range of user-generated content created by NBA China’s network of influencers and Alipay’s authorized content creators.
NBA China has also struck a deal with Topnod, Ant Group’s platform for digital collectibles. Since last year, NBA China had been leveraging Topnod’s technology and services to provide fans with Spring Festival-themed digital collectibles. Going forward, NBA China and Ant Group will continue to collaborate on digital engagement initiatives, including digital collectibles.
The division of the NBA that conducts all of the league’s businesses in China was formed in January 2008 after its first office opened in Hong Kong in 1992. The NBA currently has relationships with a network of television and digital media outlets in China, including a partnership of over 30 years with China Media Group. In 2021, Kuaishou became the official short video platform and first video content creation community of NBA China.
Since 2022, major sporting events have largely returned to its pre-COVID-19 state, and the suspension or cancellation of events as well as low attendance rates have gradually disappeared. In the 2021-22 season, the NBA’s total revenue exceeded $10 billion for the first time, of which basketball-related revenue reached a record high of $8.9 billion.