NBA China to design, run Beijing Olympics arena
BEIJING -- The NBA has taken a stake in designing and running Beijing's Olympic basketball venue during and after August's Summer Games.
NBA China -- a joint venture of the NBA, broadcaster ESPN and Chinese companies -- said Thursday it has joined promoter AEG and the Beijing Wukesong Culture and Sports Center to design, market, program and operate the stadium.
Basketball is growing in popularity in China, and the nation's top player, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, is expected to be one of the Olympics' major stars. The NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball are all striving to crack the China market and take advantage of the nation's burgeoning leisure spending.
The glass-walled indoor stadium in western Beijing seats 18,000, sitting beside baseball fields that will be torn down and replaced. There already had been an agreement among the NBA, the Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee and FIBA, the game's world governing body, to run the facility during the Olympics.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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