NBA Seeks to Tap China Popularity in Tsingtao Beer Partnership

Aug. 23 -- The National Basketball Association signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with Tsingtao Brewery Co. in which China's largest brewer will fund sports and dance competitions related to the league in the most populous nation.

Tsingtao, China's biggest beer company by sales, will sponsor a nationwide search for an NBA China Dance Team, help finance basketball tours in the country and assist in an All- Star Game balloting system, the NBA said in a statement today. Terms weren't disclosed.

``Through Tsingtao's extensive retail network and presence in China, we will be bringing entertaining basketball experiences to fans,'' NBA Commissioner David Stern said in the statement.

The NBA last month opened two merchandise stores in downtown Beijing -- the first of as many as 1,000 planned -- to tap spiraling interest in the league fueled by the success of Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. The NBA is the most-watched sports league in China and now has 21 marketing partnerships in the country.

Tsingtao said publicity from sponsoring the Beijing Games boosted demand for its products in the first half of 2008. Basketball has as many as 300 million players in China, according to the sport's national association.

``The NBA's global appeal amongst young fans and consumers will help Tsingtao Beer further globalize its brand,'' Tsingtao Chairman Jin Zhiguo said in the statement.


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