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PBA to announce live media rights deal in China with HWRICL

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 08: Andray Blatche #1 of the Philippines National Team reacts after injuring his shoulder during the classification round of 2019 FIBA World Cup between Iran and Philippines on September 8, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Xinyu Cui/Getty Images)

The Philippines Basketball Association is set to announce a deal with the Hunan World Research Internet Co. Ltd (HWRICL) to air league games live and exclusively on television in China.

The deal was agreed in June between the Pilipinas Global Network Limited, which owns the media rights to the PBA league, and HWRICL. A successful test broadcast of live PBA games by HWRICL was conducted two weeks ago.

The deal is to be officially launched at ceremony in Changsha, China, tomorrow. The ceremony will include a transmission from Changsha to be broadcast on television at half-time of the PBA fixture between San Miguel Beermen and North Port Batang Pier.

PBA league commissioner Willie Marcial said: “The PBA breakthrough in China is significant because it establishes a viewership for the league in the world’s largest market.”

HWRICL chief executive officer Mo Yanfei said: “This exciting event can be the catalyst for future joint sporting activities between our two neighbouring countries. One of the objectives of this accord is to promote Philippine professional basketball games for the enjoyment and viewing appreciation of Chinese sports fans.”

The number of games that will be broadcast live under the deal is yet to be confirmed.

According to spin.ph, HWRICL and the PBA are also discussing holding a game in China. Matt Beyer, the chief executive of the Asia League, has also been invited to Changsha to discuss the idea. The Asia League, also known as the East Asia Super League, is an off-season tournament featuring teams from China, Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Chinese Taipei.

The PBA was founded in 1975 and is the second-oldest continuously-running basketball league in the world after the NBA. It has twelve company-branded franchised teams.