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NBA大牌中国淘金进展:想打短工?没门!

Eli Epstein 2011年08月19日

据报道,山西男篮已经与科比就加盟一事达成协议,只等中国篮协点头。随着NBA停摆持续,很多球员(和球迷)都期待这些NBA球星到中国一试身手。但是中国篮球的管理部门很可能会婉言谢绝,从而蒙受损失。

    

    此外,利益受损的还包括中国篮球协会, 他们本来有机会大幅提高门票收入、商品销售和企业赞助,这些也是他们非常需要的。2008至2009赛季,CBA修改规则允许更多的外籍优秀球员进入联盟,该季度的运营成本提高,导致亏损接近1,700万美元。

    尽管录得亏损,CBA官员刘晓农上个月在接受ESPN采访时却表示,该联盟的营收随着耐克(Nike)、UPS和TCL等重要企业赞助商的进入而大幅提高。但是,只有吸引NBA球星加入CBA,才能带来更多类似的巨额赞助协议。

    “从商业角度看,CBA将受益良多,” NiuBball.com创始人兼主笔乔恩•帕斯图斯泽克表示。“球迷们毫无疑问将涌向球馆亲眼目睹球星的风采。” NiuBball.com是专门关注中国篮球的博客网站

    帕斯图斯泽克相信,球馆爆满仅仅只是冰山一角。赛事带来的全球曝光量也会推动当地经济的发展,因为门票收入和涌向当地的资金都会增加。

    同样地,NBA经纪人马克•康斯坦也指出,中国的商品销售潜力是那些没有签约中国球队的NBA球员可能丧失的另一个良机。康斯坦所在的Pinnacle Hoops公司代理的球员包括穆埃尔•戴勒姆波特等多位国际球员。目前,中国运动品牌李宁(Li-Ning)和皮克(Peak)都在充分利用篮球持续升温带来的机遇。耐克宣布,2010财年中国业务营收达到17亿美元。

    “目前,中国零售领域竞争非常激烈,发展速度超过了消费者支出能力,” 康斯坦说,“但是支出能力正在持续增长,专业鞋类市场也在与中产阶级同步壮大。”

    尽管篮球在中国增长的潜力看起来无穷无尽,但是这项运动的发展在当地仍然面临多重障碍。过去,一个阻碍增长的因素是国家利益重于一切的精神,这使得地区的利益和包括CBA球队老板等的商家利益被忽视。中国官方担心CBA沦为NBA明星歇脚的中转站,只是来中国捞钱,一旦有机会就会离开。

    帕斯图斯泽克警告称:“球员们到中国打短工可能会传递出这样一个信息,中国只不过是NBA的‘后院’……一个不费吹灰之力就能捞到钱的地方。”

    布鲁斯•奥尼尔是美国篮球学院(United States Basketball Academy)的院长,培养中国的优秀人才。过去20年里,他一直就中国篮球事务向CBA的球队老板和美国经纪人提供意见。他对帕斯图斯泽克的观点表示认同,即中国政府官员反对这种大规模涌入带来的短期利益。

    但奥尼尔指出,中国篮球的发展机遇仍然巨大。

    “球队老板们都非常进取,希望了解西方如何运营篮球组织,”奥尼尔说,“服饰公司也开始学习在磋商代言合同时进行讨价还价,并避免以过高价格签入NBA球员。总的来说,在中国篮球受关注程度一直在大幅提升,球迷也表现出巨大的支持。这个市场充满机遇。”

    翻译 秋闲

    Then there is the Chinese Basketball Association, which would likely have seen a much-needed boost in revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorships. The CBA, after changing the rules to allow more foreign talent to play in the league, raised its operating cost during the 2008-2009 season and subsequently incurred a loss of nearly $17 million.

    Despite those losses, CBA official Liu Xiaonong told ESPN last month that the league's revenue is soaring with Nike (NKE), UPS (UPS), and TLC Communications as significant corporate sponsors. Still, these mega-sponsorship deals would only proliferate if localities were to bring in NBA stars.

    "From a commercial standpoint, the CBA has much to gain," says Jon Pastuszek, founder and lead writer for Chinese basketball blog NiuBball.com. "Fans would undoubtedly flock to arenas to witness it all in person."

    Sold-out arenas were the just the tip of the iceberg, Pastuszek believes. Local economies would also be boosted by the worldwide exposure, benefitting from increased gate revenues and money flowing into the locality.

    Likewise, NBA agent Marc Cornstein, whose Pinnacle Hoops represents NBA players like Samuel Dalembert and scores of international players, points to the merchandising potential in China as another advantage potentially lost for NBA players who don't sign. Already, Chinese footwear brands Li-Ning and Peak have capitalized on basketball's growing popularity, and Nike reported a $1.7 billion in Chinese revenues for the 2010 fiscal year.

    "There's a retailing arms race in China that outpaces the consumer spending power," says Cornstein, "but the spending power keeps going up and the specialty shoe market grows as the middle class does."

    While the potential for basketball growth in China can seem limitless, the sport still faces numerous roadblocks there. One factor that has stunted growth in the past is the Chinese ethos of the national interest outweighing smaller regional and commercial interests like CBA owners. Chinese authorities remain wary of being seen as a fly-by-night destination for NBA stars looking to make a quick buck and leave when the opportunity affords them to.

    "By coming to China temporarily, players would send a message that China is nothing more than a 'backyard,' a quick and easy way to make a buck," warns Pastuszek.

    Bruce O'Neil develops Chinese talent at his United States Basketball Academy and has been consulting Chinese owners and American agents for over 20 years on matters of Chinese basketball. He agrees with Pastuszek's assessment that Chinese government officials are averse to the short-term benefits of such a mass influx.

    Still, O'Neil argues, the opportunities for growth are immense in China.

    "The owners are very progressive and want Western insight on how to run basketball organizations," says O'Neil. "The apparel companies are also learning to carve niches with endorsements and to avoid buying NBA players for way too much money. In general, there's been a tremendous rise in basketball interest in China and the fan support is huge. The market will bear opportunities."

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