The National Basketball Association has chosen JuneYao Group to develop 2,000 branded retail outlets across China. The agreement with the NBA will allow JuneYao to sell licensed merchandise in the 2,000 NBA retail stores it plans to open over the next two to three years. It will also develop, manufacture and sell NBA-branded toys and stationery.
Even though NBA branded merchandise has for years been sold by all sorts of sporting goods stores, an exclusive retail chain bearing the famous three-letter acronym is a departure for the league. It maintains only one retail outlet in the entire U.S., a 35,000-square-foot, two-floor emporium on Fifth Avenue in New York. That store celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. China is the NBA's second largest market after the U.S.
The move to establish a China retail franchise came after the NBA in January formed NBA China, a new entity that will conduct all of the leagues businesses in Greater China. Strategic partners in the NBA China investment are ESPN, a division of The Walt Disney Company; Bank of China Group Investment; Legend Holdings Limited; Li Ka Shing Foundation and China Merchants Investments. A flagship store in Beijing will open in August, just before the start of the Summer Olympics.