Fiba, the global governing body of basketball, has sealed a long-term strategic partnership with the Wanda-owned Infront Sports & Media agency through to 2033.
Under the deal, Wanda will be the governing body's worldwide exclusive partner for the sale and marketing of global sponsorship and licensing rights in relation to four Fiba Basketball World Cup cycles, comprising the tournaments, their qualifiers, men’s and women’s continental cups and their qualifiers, as well as Women's Basketball World Cups and Youth World Championships.
Infront said that the deal would lead to the creation of Fiba Marketing, a cooperation between Fiba and Wanda’s Infront team, with a focus on “comprehensive marketing initiatives and services in the area of branding, merchandising, event hospitality, on-site operations and marketing partner support.”
The collaboration will be global in its outlook, but with a particular focus on China, where Wanda has a significant network and operational infrastructure. Earlier this week, the local organising committee for the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China was established, while Fiba announced that it would be opening three new offices in the country.
The Wanda tie-up comes at a crucial time for Fiba, which is introducing a new competition system in November 2017 and has been at loggerheads with rival tournament operator Euroleague Basketball in recent months.
“This strategic partnership is of significant importance to Fiba,” Fiba secretary general Patrick Baumann said. “It is another tangible result of Fiba's ambitions to accelerate the growth by unlocking the true potential of national team basketball, bringing the game to a new level globally and tapping into emerging markets in Asia, Americas and Africa.
“With our new event schedule and an eagerly anticipated Fiba Basketball World Cup in China coming up, it is the right time to initiate a long-term strategic collaboration with a partner that shares our vision for basketball and is ready to make significant efforts to see it through. It confirms the strong commitment of Wanda to basketball and to support Fiba's objective of making basketball the most popular sports community not only in China but also worldwide.”
Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin added: “The strategic partnership with Fiba is another major development that Wanda has made in the sports industry. Wanda will fully leverage its own influence, as well as Infront’s expertise, to raise basketball globally – and in China – to new heights."
Philippe Blatter, president and chief executive of Wanda Sports Holding, said that the two parties would “develop a stronger global marketing platform, introduce new brands and strengthen the impact for existing sponsors, thereby raising the global awareness of the sport.” He added: “This is particularly promising, as basketball continues to grow and is among the few sports that are highly popular in most leading economies – from the US to Europe to Asia.”