The National Basketball Association and Nokia have reached a multi-year agreement to expand their U.S. relationship into Greater China, marking the first time video content of a North American based sports league will be made available on mobile phones in the region.
As the Official Mobile Phone of the NBA in Greater China, Nokia will enable their mobile users to access embedded NBA video highlights of the 2004-05 NBA season and 2005 All-Star Game. Beginning the second half of this year, Nokia is expected to offer NBA team logos and NBA Java games in its mobile phones, allowing the youth segment to enjoy the exciting and entertaining content anytime and anywhere.
This summer, Nokia will participate in China's first-ever NBA Jam Van, an NBA touring fan event featuring various basketball activities and NBA-themed attractions. Nokia will further showcase their new products to the league's fans in the region through nationally televised NBA games and programming on Central Chinese Television (CCTV), 16 regional broadcasters in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and on NBA TV in Hong Kong. They will also partner with NBA.com/China, in which the top ten plays of the week will be highlighted through the Nokia "Courtside Countdown." Additionally, Nokia will conduct a gift with purchase promotion across China throughout the summer.
Nokia will support Basketball without Borders, the international basketball and community relations outreach program for young people that promotes healthy living, friendship and education. The first-ever Basketball without Borders Asia will take place July 14-17 at the Beijing Olympic Training Facility in Beijing, China.
"The youth is the future and represents the market trends. Expanding the partner relationship with the NBA is the core part of Nokia's youth marketing strategy," said Colin Giles, Nokia Senior Vice President, Customer & Market Operation, Great China Area. "As a symbol of energy, passion and dreams, the NBA is very popular among young consumers in China. Nokia also wins more young consumers' attention by continuously launching fashion products with cutting-edge technology. The cooperation between Nokia and the NBA will help Nokia position itself in the youth segment and strengthen our brand image of innovation, leadership and fashion."
"Nokia's position as an industry leader in China, combined with our relevance among young, tech savvy basketball fans across the region, makes for a perfect opportunity to unite our global brands," said Heidi Ueberroth, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Media Properties and Marketing Partnerships.
"Nokia's selection of the NBA to help grow its business in its largest market in the world demonstrates our connection with a passionate, youthful fan base in China and will help us meet the growing demand of these fans to connect with the game," said Mark Fischer, Managing Director, NBA China.
In May 2004, the NBA and Nokia agreed on a multi-year alliance making Nokia the Official Mobile Phone of the NBA and WNBA in the United States. The deal marked the first time fans in the U.S. were able to receive daily video content from a major sports league to their wireless phones.
An estimated 300 million people play basketball throughout the region. In recent surveys, 75% of Chinese males ages 15-24 said they were NBA fans, more than 40% stated that basketball is their favorite sport to play and four of their top five athletes are NBA players. This past regular season, NBA games were broadcast on 15 television networks and watched by more than 30 million viewers per week. NBA.com/China, launched in 2002, averages more than 3 million page-views per day. NBA merchandise is available in more than 20,000 retail locations throughout the region.