The NBA’s Global Games schedule is out for 2014 and the upshot for Chinese fans is this: Nets vs Kings in Shanghai on October 12, before the same teams play in Beijing on October 15.
It’s not the most appealing line-up of all time, or even this year – the Spurs are going to Europe that week, while the Heat play in Brazil – but the NBA preseason games have become a staple of the autumn calendar here.
Taiwanese fans will miss out this time, after the NBA staged preseason games in Taipei in 2009 and 2013. Guangzhou also hosted games in 2008 and 2010, but all the other NBA games on the mainland have been in Beijing and Shanghai.
These will, of course, be exhibition games – unlike the regular season NCAA match-up between Texas and Washington in China scheduled for November 2015 – but the one advantage for the fans is that NBA teams in China for preseason typically stay several days in the country and stage a number of promotional activities and fan events; if a regular season game were ever to happen here, the teams would likely jet straight in and straight out.
The NBA has staged a handful of regular season games outside of the US (in Japan, the UK and Mexico), though is very unlikely to do so in China for reasons explored here. New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is still open to new ideas, though, admitting this week that jersey sponsorship was “inevitable” in the future.
Given the history of Chinese sportswear companies such as Anta, Li-Ning and Peak sponsoring NBA players, what are the chances of a Chinese company popping up on a NBA jersey in the future? Perhaps this is how Huawei will finally make its breakthrough in America…