Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NBA in venture to build 12 arenas in China

The NBA has formed a joint venture with Anschutz Entertainment Group to design and develop about 12 multipurpose arenas in major Chinese cities.

The project was announced on Sunday at the O2 Arena in London, where the New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat played a preseason game. AEG runs the O2, and the venture will be equally owned by the two parties.

NBA commissioner David Stern did not say when the plan would be starting, or where the buildings would be located.

But he said the new joint venture will work with government bodies and agencies and local developers to oversee the design and development of world-class arenas and entertainment districts.

Stern added that they had already been contacted by many local municipalities and governments.

"We'd like to have the visits first before being able to come up with a list and see where the best opportunities are. We anticipate that in a relatively short order, we will have laid out a road map of a dozen buildings throughout China even down to some small cities."

The partnership will also manage booking and marketing of a wide variety of events including basketball and other sports events, concerts, family shows, cultural events, trade shows/conventions, and various live entertainment performances.

Where feasible, the arenas will be developed in conjunction with surrounding cultural and entertainment districts potentially comprised of restaurants, retail outlets, cinemas, hotels, residential areas, sports training facilities and smaller live entertainment venues.

The new organization will be equally owned and will oversee all decisions for each development including identifying target cities and project sites, arena design and development, procurement of naming rights and other sponsorships, securing an arena anchor tenant and the hiring of key personnel.

"AEG is the established leader in global arena development as evidenced by its state-of-the-art facilities in Los Angeles, London and Berlin. We are excited to partner with AEG in China where the popularity of basketball creates enormous opportunity," said Stern.

With the two NBA China games taking place in Guangzhou tomorrow and Beijing on Saturday, AEG president and CEO Timothy J. Leiweke said that they were anticipating more detailed plans soon with local governments and developers although it is yet to be revealed when and where the arenas and entertainment will be built.

"We expect within the next few weeks to begin a series of announcement on opportunities, partnerships and a vision with corporation and government officials." he said.

Source: Agencies/China Daily

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