Tencent Extends NBA Partnership For Chinese Content

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Limited — owner of U.S. eSports mainstay Riot Games — just announced a major extension to the company’s sports lineup for both gaming and streaming services. 

Tencent has already been partnered with the U.S. National Basketball Association for international coverage since 2009, and now the company has officially extended that landmark partnership through the NBA’s 2025 season. 

Under the terms of the re-negotiated deal, Tencent will continue to handle interactive fan events, mobile games, live shows, and digital programming for the NBA in China, with new video shorts and game content expected to arrive in the coming years. 

In particular, Tencent will stream Video On Demand NBA services directly to Chinese viewers, as well as develop additional mobile apps and loyalty programs for basketball fans. The deal is also slated to include new advertising content for Tencent’s mainstay QQ platform. 

Tencent President Martin Lau commented on the newly-announced international deal extension this morning: 

We believe that the enhanced partnership between the NBA and Tencent will take our phenomenal success to new heights. Empowered by our technology capabilities, interactive platforms, and content expertise, we will work closely with the NBA to further engage fans in China with sports excitement and technology innovations to elevate passion for basketball, and to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

While the NBA is partnered with Tencent for Chinese territory, Take-Two Interactive and subsidiary 2K Sports hold the rights to NBA games Stateside. That existing U.S. deal was extended back in January for an additional seven years at a staggering price of $1.1 billion. 

Live streaming of NBA 2K League games for North American audiences is handled via game streaming service Twitch, and the 2019 season just ended with a final game on Aug. 3. 

That third official season for the NBA eSports league culminated with T-Wolves Gaming (the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves) taking home the championship. 

Now in the offseason, teams are currently deciding which players to protect from the expansion draft due to start in late September, with the fourth NBA 2K League season in the U.S. expected to start next May. 

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Ty Arthur
Ty Arthur has spent the last decade of his journalism career covering everything from cutting-edge tech to local news through outlets such as the Houston Chronicle. He has focused on the counterculture aspects of society, from marijuana legalization to underground music through Metalunderground.com and rapidly changing trends in the entertainment industry. He lives in the cold, dark north with his wife and son. Address: 682 Indian Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6P 2C9. Phone: 416-721-8257.
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