NBA to Build Large Sports and Entertainment Facility in China

Something dubbed the “NBA Center” will be built near Beijing, and it will be huge. The complex will feature gaming, shopping and dining options. Per the NY Times: “In an effort to expand its reach in China, the National Basketball Association said Thursday that it planned to build a giant sports and entertainment complex on the outskirts of Beijing. The N.B.A. Center — a basketball extravaganza that will include a gym and an N.B.A.-themed cafe, a restaurant and a store as well as an interactive gaming area and a children’s zone — will be placed at the center of a $1.5 billion, 800-hectare, or 2,000-acre, property development being built by a Chinese company. […] China is already the second-biggest market for the N.B.A., after the United States, and it is a key to the league’s international strategy, with revenue of more than $100 million for the past year, according to analysts. The N.B.A. declined to say how much it was investing in the center but said it would be the first of several it planned to set up throughout China. In 2008, the league raised $253 million from a group of investors that included Disney, ESPN and China Merchants Bank, which valued the new company, N.B.A. China, at about $2.5 billion. But China’s complicated marketplace seems also to have made the N.B.A. rethink some of its ambitions here. Television ratings and merchandise sales have remained strong, league executives say, but plans to open N.B.A.-branded retail stores have been scrapped in favor of selling official league merchandise through Adidas outlets and online using China’s popular e-commerce sites. The league has also done away with plans to help build a local professional basketball league modeled on the N.B.A., with arenas similar to those in North America.”