Tencent/NBA Ink 5 Year Deal – Expanding Tencent’s Legitimate Content Reach


While most people were focused on the Alibaba/SAIC controversy last week, the National Basketball Association inked a five year exclusive license with Tencent last week for digital content.

Effective on July 1, Tencent will become the exclusive digital partner of the NBA in China. Tencent will record a number of live NBA games and deliver the programming to its audiences. NBA live games and content will be available for fans to access. Tencent and the NBA will also launch the first-ever NBA League Pass in China, providing fans with access to a full season of live and on-demand NBA games online and via mobile devices.  Tencent and the NBA will also jointly manage and operate the NBA’s digital assets in China, including NBA.com/China and sites for all 30 NBA teams, NBA events, and merchandise. Tencent will also launch the NBA Game Time app on mobile devices.  Lastly, the NBA and Tencent will unveil the NBA Community including an NBA dedicated gaming section within the Tencent Games platform, a more integrated social commerce platform, and a premium subscription service. Tencent will also develop NBA-themed interactive games on its platforms.

The deal comes hot on the heels of another deal that Tencent signed with Warner Music in November.  Hopefully, this latest deal will have the added benefits of putting additional pressure on China to insure that live broadcasting and webcasting of sports games is subject to copyright protection and improving the distribution channels for legitimate NBA merchandise.

The NBA and Its Continuing Trademark Battles

The July 9 issue of the SIPO Newspaper/ Trademark Weekly (http://www.tmweek.com/yw_list_danye.asp?newsid=1624) reports that Nike and Kobe Bryant are involved in the latest skirmish with an alleged trademark squatter.  A natural person in Fujian person has applied for a mark in class 18 for “科比 KB-KOBE” and obtained a registration against the opposition of Nike.  Nike asserted before the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board  that the mark infringed Kobe Bryant’s personality rights (rights to the name), and was in bad faith, and has since appealed the matter to the Beijing Number 1 Intermediate Court. Continue reading