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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

NBA Red Card 2018

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

NBA Red Card 2018 - Report

For the second year in a row, we have produced a comprehensive analysis on the digital performance of NBA teams, players and the sponsors. The aim of this report is to educate sports professionals, teams, and organisations about the basketball digital landscape in China and to highlight new opportunities and potential challenges.

Following the NBA Red Card 2017 report, there has been a lot of discussion about the strength of the NBA in China, what is rarely talked though is the strategic positioning of the teams and players. The NBA Red Card 2018 aims to measure the influence of both of these online in China across five different metrics. The report also undertakes an analysis of two NBA teams content performance, comparing their global and Chinese channels to reveal best practice and the key factors for success online in China.

NBA players are free to leverage the NBA’s strength in China financially. Two of the most recent examples of this are the $80 million, 10-year deal between ANTA and Klay Thompson in June 2018 and Dwyane Wade’s lifetime deal with Chinese apparel brand Li Ning. Franchise revenue streams, meanwhile; such as jersey sales, new sponsorship deals and tourism, are becoming increasingly competitive.

One of the most striking findings from the report is that despite NBA teams being amongst the most innovative digital groups, only a small number have a clear content strategy and a long-term plan in China. Most notable are the NBA Red Card 2018 winners, the Golden State Warriors, who produced special edition Chinese New Year jerseys for the sixth consecutive year and executed a tailored digital marketing strategy for China. As part of their success, the team has been able to secure four sponsorship deals and boast the highest quantity of jerseys sold in China.

The Dallas Mavericks are the highest movers in our rankings, with owner Mark Cuban himself leading their marketing strategy. The most successful was challenging Chinese fans to create a new nickname for the team; 100,000 votes later “the Lone Ranger Heroes" (独行侠) were established.

Congratulations go to both the Golden State Warriors and Jeremy Lin as the winners of the NBA Red Card 2018, as well as Kobe Bryant for continuing to grow his legacy in China and retaining his title as the most followed NBA star. All provide examples of what dedication and focus towards this market can achieve.

We are also looking forward to welcoming the Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers for this year’s China Games, marking a 25th consecutive sell out crowd for the NBA in China. 2019 is going to be another fantastic year for the NBA and all of its China stakeholders.

Click here to download the full report.

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