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Tencent Slam-Dunks Five-Year NBA Contract Extension

By Shi Rui and Zhao Runhua / Jul 29, 2019 04:27 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tencent and the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Monday that they are extending their current partnership — which includes live broadcasts, NBA-related programming, and fan experiences — until 2025.

The tie-up will seek to further integrate the Chinese internet giant’s social networking prowess with the country’s love for American basketball. Tencent’s digital platforms, which include ubiquitous social messaging app WeChat, are a “driving force” behind basketball’s growth in China, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in the announcement.

In addition to showing live NBA games and on-demand video, the new partnership will also see Tencent platforms like short video outlet Weishi host NBA-related clips. The two parties’ current agreement expires in 2020.

Neither Tencent nor the NBA disclosed the price of the new deal, but it is expected to exceed the $500 million Tencent agreed to pay for the 2015-2020 tie-up — itself more than three times the price the NBA charged for the previous five-season agreement.

A source close to the negotiations told Caixin that e-commerce behemoth Alibaba and state-owned network operator China Mobile’s video platform Migu had both approached the NBA about a potential deal, but the NBA rejected both deals.

Last season, almost 500 million netizens in China watched NBA programming provided by Tencent, the NBA said.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

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