Friday, December 26, 2008

"Long stratagem and sports kingdom"? With Yi on board, Nets sign marketing deal with Chinese sportswear company

The New Jersey Nets are having Office Max help sponsor the holidays, in case you didn't notice. And forward, Yi Jianlian, of China, may be having an up-and-down season, but he wasn't named the NBA's ninth-most marketable player for nothing.

According to People's Daily, which apparently scooped the domestic press:
The Nets have entered into a multi-year sponsorship alliance with PEAK, a China-based company specializing in sports apparel production, including shoes, sportswear, and gear.

The announcement of the sponsorship was made at a press conference on Monday at the High Point Solutions Business Center at the IZOD CENTER, which was attended by PEAK general manager and executive director Xu Zhihua and Nets chief executive officer Brett Yormark. The press conference also included a performance by the Peking Opera and a fashion show, with PEAK models taking the ramp.

PEAK's sponsorship agreement with the Nets includes television visible courtside and baseline signage that can be seen during the 31 Nets' regular home games this season that will be broadcast in China. PEAK, which is based in Quanzhou, Fujian province, was founded in 1989.


At right, a PEAK official with Nets CEO Brett Yormark.

PEAK performance

PEAK has also signed seven NBA players to endorsements, one of them former Net Jason Kidd.

The press release could use a little editing, given that a PEAK spokesman was quoted as saying, "We will enhance the cooperation in the NBA market, and present the quality sports gears to more NBA players and the fans around the world.”

Reuters earlier this year wrote about the growth of Chinese companies producing sportswear.

Poaching from Milwaukee?

When the Nets traded for Yi last July, Bruce Ratner said, “The fact that along with a great player like Yi comes marketing opportunities is a wonderful thing, but it’s secondary to basketball."

Indeed, sports entertainment is an international business, not one about Brooklyn pride, as DDDB would remind us.

Last year, PEAK signed a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, where Yi used to play. While the Bucks announced a multi-year deal, it's unclear how much was tied to Yi's presence. I suspect the new deal with the Nets takes precedence, given that the only other team with which PEAK has a contract is the Houston Rockets, with the Chinese center Yao Ming. Then again, the Bucks did play in China during the preseason.

I'll assume that the Nets will work with PEAK so that the company's press release will be a bit more polished than the one last year:
19th, Dec. 2007. PEAK partner with MILWAUKEE BUCKS of NBA.become the first one partner with BUCKS of NBA in china.PEAK will cooperate with MILWAUKEE BUCKS for long stratagem and sports kingdom.

Bad translations from Chinese to English have been such a feature of life in China that the government made a special effort to correct signage in the run-up to the Olympic Games, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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