BOSTON – August 1, 2016 – Just as The Basketball Tournament is approaching its final in New York this Tuesday, organizers announced an international expansion of the concept which will reach all the way to China.
TBT, as the tourney is now known, announced future Basketball Hall of Famer Yao Ming and Starz Sports International, a leading agency and events company in China, will develop The Basketball Tournament/China partnering in its first step of global expansion. TBT China’s event will incorporate TBT’s fan first, social media driven, open basketball tournament model. China’s winning team will also play into The Basketball Tournament's annual summer event, held in multiple U.S. cities.
Basketball is among the most popular sports in China. (Getty)
“TBT is a powerful international platform that leverages the popularity of social media to create unbelievable interaction between fans and their teams. The open tournament format elevates grassroots basketball to a higher level,” said 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee Yao Ming.
“Yao Ming and Starz Sports really are perfect partners to introduce TBT to the Chinese people,” said Jon Mugar, TBT founder and CEO. “Our vision of TBT has always been a global event that brings together cultures, styles, and people through social media and the international game of basketball. Ultimately we will have millions of people around the world, both players and fans, actually participating in an annual sports / media event. We are incredibly excited to work with Yao and his team on realizing this vision.”
Now in its third year, the winner takes all, single elimination basketball tournament began play in Philadelphia in 2014 with a grand prize of $500,000. The prize doubled in TBT’s second year, jumping to $1 million, as TBT inked a deal with ESPN and expanded nationally to four regions across the USA. This summer, TBT’s prize doubled once again to $2 million and ESPN broadcast the final 15 games live on its family of networks. The 2016 Final will take place Tuesday night at 7:00 pm at Rose Hill Gym on the campus of Fordham University in New York, with defending champion Overseas Elite meeting Team Colorado live on ESPN.
Open to all players, TBT requires a qualification period in which fans vote on which teams should get the chance to compete. The nomination process ran from April 1 to June 1 on TheTournament.com. This summer, a 64-team field competed in a single-elimination format across four regions until a winner emerges on August 2, live on ESPN. The social media based entry format will remain in place in TBT China, as will the team/fan payout split, allowing fans that support the winning teams to get a share of the prize.
Founded in August 2004, Beijing Starz International Sports Management Co. Ltd (Starz Sports) is a leader in sports marketing and management. In conjunction with Yao Ming's “Team Yao” agency, Starz Sports specializes in event management and business development. Since its founding, Starz Sports has established close ties with top Chinese and international business enterprises.