National Basketball Association content is coming to Alibaba Group’s online platforms for the first time, thanks to a new deal announced on Thursday.
Alibaba sites from Tmall and Taobao to video-streaming platform Youku and browser and content platform UC will now include an “NBA Section” that hosts NBA game highlights, original programming and classic NBA games, they said.
In addition, the section will use Alibaba’s technology and consumer insights to personalize the viewing experience for fans in China, while offering them the chance to shop for NBA merchandise – all within the same ecosystem. Business partners of the NBA and Alibaba will be able to leverage those insights, as well, to reach basketball fans in China.
“The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, with a sizable and passionate fan base in China,” Alibaba Group Vice President Toby Xu said. “With this expanded partnership, we will fully leverage Alibaba’s ecosystem to create a unique digital experience and bring the NBA closer to fans and consumers in China.”
Alibaba’s nearly 700 million users will now get game NBA predictions, fashion, sneakers and memorabilia through various interactive formats, such as short videos and celebrity livestreams, throughout the regular season, NBA All-Star Game, the NBA Playoffs and The Finals. The exposure to a wide range of popular basketball and cultural topics builds on the NBA’s first partnership with Alibaba, the launch of a Tmall flagship store in 2012.
NBA China CEO Derek Chang said that the NBA and Alibaba “share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology.”
“We look forward to working with Alibaba to continue to grow the game of basketball in China,” Chang said.
The partnership, which is spread across multiple Alibaba properties, falls under the Chinese e-commerce giant’s newly launched “A100” program, which brings together the entire Alibaba ecosystem to help brands digitize their operations in China. The A100 allows brands to tap into the Alibaba services that best fit their business operations, ranging from retail and payments to cloud computing and marketing, and more.
“We believe the system will help draw the consumer and the merchants closer together,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said when A100 launched in January. “By narrowing the gap between supply and demand, the merchants will be able to present the best services and products to their customers.”