(Yicai Global) Oct. 8 -- Joseph Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group Holding and an investor in the Brooklyn Nets, has taken a seat on the board of NBA China, Adam Silver, commissioner of the US National Basketball Association, said last week.
Silver announced this at a pre-match press conference for the NBA China Games 2018 between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 5, the day of their first pre-season tip-off in Shanghai, with a rematch today in Shenzhen. The US NBA formed Beijing-based NBA China in 2008 -- to coincide with the city’s hosting of the Olympics -- to ply the league’s business in the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Hoops is the country’s top team sport with 300 million estimated players, per the Chinese Basketball Association, ABS-CBN Sports reported Oct. 4.
Tsai is the co-founder of Hangzhou-based Alibaba. He acquired a 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets' shares from the team's owner Mikhail Prokhorov for about USD1.15 billion in April but is not involved in its management. Prokhorov still holds a controlling stake, but Tsai has an option to buy more in 2021 to become majority shareholder, the New York Post reported at the time. Tsai is well-versed in both the internet and e-commerce sectors, and this will help the New York-based NBA’s local unit better develop in China, Silver told Yicai Global at thebriefing.
Five partners will buy 11 percent of the firm’s preferred shares for USD253 million. All are hard-hitters: the ESPN division of The Walt Disney Company, Bank of China Group Investment, Legend Holdings -- owner of Chinese personal computer colossus Lenovo Group -- the Li Ka Shing Foundation and China Merchants Investments.
Editor: Ben Armour