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NBA’s Hornets, Clippers to play in Shenzhen, China

March 25, 2015

The Charlotte Hornets will play the Los Angeles Clippers in Shenzhen, China in October in the National Basketball Association’s first game ever in the city bordering Hong Kong, the NBA said Wednesday.

The October 11 exhibition contest ahead of the 2015-6 season will take place at Shenzhen Universiade Center, the NBA said.

The Shenzhen game will be followed by another pre-season match between the same two teams in Shanghai on October 14.

The Hornets are owned by basketball icon Michael Jordan, while the Clippers are owned by former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

The games are part of the NBA’s growing campaign to build the sport and its global fan base.

In 2014-5 season, the NBA held regular-season games in London and Mexico City, in addition to pre-season contests in Germany, Turkey, Brazil and China. The league expects to announce additional games in other countries in the weeks ahead.

The NBA has long shown particular zeal for the massive Chinese market, where basketball has become a wildly popular team sport played by an estimated 300 million people. With the 2015 games, the NBA will have played 20 games in China since 2004.

The NBA in January announced a contract with Internet provider Tencent Holdings to launch an “NBA League Pass” providing Chinese fans with live and on-demand NBA games through online and mobile delivery. Tencent is based in Shenzhen.

The NBA also has a longstanding contract with broadcaster Chinese Central Television.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.