Li Ning Becomes Official Partner to Chinese Basketball Association

September 14, 2012

Li Ning, store the world’s third largest sports apparel company has agreed a major long-term sponsorship deal with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) as Official Partner to the CBA Professional League.

Running for a period of five years, the agreement is the first brokered by Infront Sports & Media following its recent contract extension with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

The involvement of the Li Ning brand in the CBA League is by far the biggest sponsorship commitment ever secured for a Chinese sports property and one of the largest in today’s world of sports. It not only underlines the exceptional growth and increasing commercial appeal of the CBA League but also aligns the platform with other major international sports properties in respect to its marketing potential. Li Ning will assume the role of Official Partner to the CBA League with immediate effect from the 2012/13 season onwards. 

As part of its comprehensive role, Li Ning will provide the official apparel for the entire CBA Professional League. All 17 clubs competing throughout the season will be fully equipped with high-quality Li Ning sportswear including warm-up equipment, jerseys, shoes and accessories. Alongside this role, Li Ning has the right to develop and sell merchandise that falls in the apparel category at all CBA League venues as well as online and in its stores across the country, aiming to make full use of the CBA league platform as a strong sales driver.

Li Ning’s all-encompassing role as apparel supplier is complemented further by a wide-ranging sponsorship package. It combines extensive on-court advertising at a scale greater than ever before along with a vast media presence that will include digital media as well as advertising slots on CCTV-5. It also comprises various other high profile promotional opportunities that will help the brand leverage their existing grass root programmes and player endorsements. Overall, Li Ning branding will be highly prominent across the entire CBA League.

Li Ning is already a well-established name in the global world of sports – not only through its product range, but also through numerous sponsorship and supplier involvements. The first of Li Ning’s sports sponsorship engagements dates back to 1990, when the brand officially accompanied the Chinese delegation at the Asian Games. Most recently, at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Li Ning provided apparel to the Chinese diving, gymnastics, badminton, table tennis and shooting teams. With international basketball positioned as a core element in their sports strategy for several years, the CBA League – one of the leading sports leagues in Asia – was a logical next step for the brand. 

Li Ning, Chairman of the Group, said: “The sponsorship arrangement for the CBA League was a key strategic decision as part of our targeted branding campaign. The Li Ning Group will take advantage of the platform as a hugely valuable sports marketing launch pad for our product range. This will be achieved not only through pure brand exposure, but also through attractive merchandise programmes and sponsorship activation in Li Ning stores nationwide. The extensive supplier and sponsorship package offered by Infront was a one-time opportunity to establish a striking presence for the brand in our home market. As the number 1 sports league in China, the success, growth and popularity of the CBA is echoed through the ever growing television audience both nationally and worldwide. A strong foundation in our domestic market is fundamental for further expansion and we are intent on making a notable contribution to the continued development of Chinese basketball.”

Philippe Blatter, Infront’s President & CEO, commented: “This major agreement demonstrates how the CBA, the clubs and Infront have been able to boost the commercial value and sporting excellence of the CBA League – which is now reflected through the outstanding brand and promotional opportunities available. With this level of sponsorship commitment, the league is now reaching the same status – in terms of marketing value – as that achieved by some of the world’s largest and most successful sports properties. We are looking forward to continue the development of the league in close partnership with the CBA and Li Ning as its new ambitioned apparel partner.”

Ma Guoli, Managing Director Infront China, added: “Li Ning is a leading national sports equipment brand and has witnessed the progress of the Chinese sports industry alongside its own development. It is therefore the ideal partner to break new ground with the CBA League – closing a contract as one the largest apparel suppliers in worldwide sponsorship history. We strongly believe that the cooperation will further propel the development of the CBA League and the Li Ning Group and forge a win-win situation for both sides.”