The Chinese Invest in LeBron and the Cavs

by December 15, 2009
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LeBron has a new boss, er business partner, frantically entering the fray. Kenny Huang envisions big things for his superstar forward: “By the end of the year, Huang will likely finish another deal, completing the purchase of a 15 percent stake in the Cavs, representing the first major investment by the Chinese in American pro sports. That ownership deal, signed in May during the Eastern Conference Finals, will sell former Cavs Vice Chairman David Katzman’s 15 percent to a group led by Huang … With an estimated 300 million basketball fans, the chance to capitalize on the Chinese fan base is potentially even greater than in the U.S. Which is why James has been trying to promote products there, especially through Nike. ‘LeBron is a very smart man and he’s doing very well with his management team,’ Huang said. ‘I’m sure they are looking into a lot of endorsement opportunities. He already has a lot of credibility in China and now I’m sure these deals happening will bring a lot of opportunities for him there.’ Huang said interest in the Cavs has exploded in China and they have surpassed the Houston Rockets, who have Chinese national hero Yao Ming, in popularity. The Cavs are second to only the Los Angeles Lakers in overall profile. This year there will be 34 games broadcast on Chinese television and there are Chinese media members based in Cleveland who cover the team.”