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NCAA to become first-ever American sports league to play in China – SportsUntapped.com
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Added November 9th, 2015 by Ian

NCAA to become first-ever American sports league to play in China
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The Pac-12 NCAA U.S. college basketball conference will become the first-ever American sports league to hold a regular-season game in China when the University of Washington Huskies take on the University of Texas Longhorns this November 14th in the city of Shanghai. There will be another game to follow later in the year and both contests will be broadcast in the U.S. by ESPN while BABA, Tech30 will show them across China. According to the Chinese broadcaster Alibaba, basketball is considered to be China’s most popular sport with about 300 million fans interested in it.

The game on November 14 will take place shortly after the Single’s Day annual shopping event in China, which is the year’s busiest shopping day in the country. The game is also the season opener for Washington and Texas and Pac-12 hopes it’s just the start of a long-term arrangement with the Chinese. The league is hoping to play at least two games a season in China for the foreseeable future and league commissioner Larry Scott has said it looks like there will definitely be a couple of more games held on the other side of the Pacific Ocean again in the 2016/17 basketball campaign.

Scott told the media, “Basically my vision is that this will be an annual tip-off game, the way the Pac-12 starts off every yea. It’ll be a premiere team against a premiere non-conference opponent, a new tradition for how we start the season.”
The costs involved with the games will be looked after by the Alibaba Group, which has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Pac-12. Alibaba is one of the biggest e-commerce companies in China and the world and felt it would be a good idea to get involved with U.S. college sports. If the games go off smoothly fans could start to see more American clubs head to China if there are willing sponsors. At the moment, Pac-12 is taking advantage of as good business deal to gain more exposure for college basketball.

It will certainly help the conference out more than it will the individual players, but it should be an experience they never forget, especially since it won’t cost them anything. The college players will spend a week in China and will visit several cultural and historical sites. Some of the players have also been taking classes to learn some important Mandarin language phrases. If all goes well, Chinese fans may soon see American college football games hosted in their country.

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