• 73°

NBA: Cavs sign ownership deal with China

Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. ó The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed an agreement with an investment group from China to become minority owners of the NBA franchise and its arena, a partnership that could impact superstar LeBron James’ future with the team.
The Asian conglomerate, which includes JianHua Huang, a Chinese businessman who has brokered sponsorship deals with the New York Yankees and other sports franchises in the U.S., could acquire up to 15 percent of Cavaliers Operating Company, the entity that owns the team and operates Quicken Loans Arena.
The deal, completed by the sides in recent days, must be approved by the league’s board of governors.
Team president Len Komoroski said Sunday the group approached Cavs principal owner Dan Gilbert about the partnership and called the business venture “an exciting new opportunity.”
Gilbert’s role in overseeing the organization and 20,000-seat arena will not be affected by the new partners.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported the sides had a tentative deal in place. But in recent days, paperwork was completed between Gilbert and the consortium. It will now be sent to the league office for approval.
With an eye on spreading the game on a global scale, the NBA has been quietly pushing for an international group to become involved in ownership on a minority level. And with a huge fan base already in China ó mainly because of Houston All-Star Yao Ming ó the league has entered into several ventures with the nation to develop players and build arenas to NBA specifications.
Huang and others in the group attended Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Cleveland. On Friday, they sat courtside and watched James hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the final second to give the Cavaliers a 96-95 win and even the best-of-seven series which resumed Sunday night.
If approved, the deal would provide marketing opportunities for the Cavaliers and James, who is eligible to become a free agent in the summer of 2010. The 24-year-old MVP, who is already among the league’s most popular players in Asia, has stated he wants to become the first billionaire athlete. His brand overseas could be enhanced by playing for a team with Chinese business partners.
There has been ongoing speculation that James will leave Cleveland to play in a larger market like New York or Los Angeles because of the vast business opportunities. But James ó and his corporate sponsors like Nike ó have broader goals and may be able to attain them by tapping into China’s colossal consumer marketplace without him ever leaving Cleveland.
James has never given any indication he wants to leave the Cavaliers, who drafted the Akron, Ohio, native with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003. He won a gold medal with the U.S. team last summer at the Beijing Games and has made four trips to China, including one with the Cavs during the preseason two years ago.
“It’s a big market,” James said before Game 3. “They love the game of basketball. I’ve been over there the last four or five summers. It should be good. It should be fun.”

Comments

Comments closed.

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT

Nation/World

D-Day survivor, WWII torch bearer Ray Lambert dies at 100

Nation/World

Prince Philip was always defined by role as husband of British queen

BREAKING NEWS

One dead, several injured after head-on collision in China Grove

Crime

Man, woman charged for selling drugs to undercover deputies

Crime

Blotter: Rowan County man charged with indecent liberties with children

Local

Spencer town board gets look at Park Plaza progress

Business

‘Applicant market’: Unemployment rate improving as businesses hire more workers

Local

National, local business leaders praise Salisbury’s initiative to support Black-owned operations

Nation/World

Tillis has prostate cancer surgery

Coronavirus

Adverse reactions surface from Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nation/World

Expert: Lack of oxygen killed George Floyd, not drugs

Local

Quotes of the week

Nation/World

Biden seeks crackdown on homemade firearms

Nation/World

Victim of former NFL player’s rampage wrote of faith, life’s fragility

News

Wrongly imprisoned man gets $750,000

High School

West falls to Statesville, finishes second in NPC

Education

Middle, high school students head back to classes full time