Year Founded: 1995
Commissioner/Chairman: Yao Ming
No. of Teams: 20
Early November to early May
– Regular season: early November – mid-March
– Playoffs: mid-March – early May
In 1987, then-commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, reached a deal with CCTV to broadcast NBA games in China. What followed was the growth of a passionate basketball fan-base spearheaded by Yao Ming’s success in the NBA. The Chinese Basketball Association debuted in 1995 is now considered the top league in Asia and has become the world’s second-highest-paying basketball league.
The 2018–19 season was the 24th season of the CBA. The regular season expands from 38 games to 46 games, while the playoffs expand from 10 teams to 12 teams.
The country’s top league has made huge strides these past few years, especially under the recent leadership of chairman Yao Ming. Foreign media and talent is taking notice: Players with a collective 11,000-plus games of NBA experience passed through the CBA last season, including 10 McDonald’s All-Americans, five NCAA champions and 19 first-round picks.
With exception of the Bayi Chinese Military team (which is not allowed to have import players), each team in the CBA can sign two non-Asian imports. There are no restrictions on position, age, height, etc. The import players are allowed to play a combined six quarters (60 minutes) per game, but at most one player can stay on court during the fourth quarter.
Teams are allowed two foreign imports, but teams that finished within the bottom three in the previous season can have the option for a third Asian import.
China is the nation that can never get enough basketball. The country now has more than 450 million NBA viewers and over 300 million basketball players. It’s no surprise that the CBA now has die-hard fan groups.
On October 22, 2016. The CBA League (Beijing) Sports Company or the “CBA Company” officially registered .
Started in April, 2017, the CBA League (Beijing) Sports Company will oversee the league’s commercial operation, including advertisement and broadcasting rights.
Under the new structure, CBA clubs will be directly involved in the league’s commercial operation. The 20 clubs own a 70% share (each team owns 3. 5%) in the company. The remaining 30% is held by the CBA’s solely owned China Basketball Giant Advertisement Company. The government still supervises the company, however, and will hand over 5% of its annual profit to the
Chinese Basketball Administrative Center to develop the women’s basketball league, as well as another 5% to go towards funding youth basketball development programs.
Chinese investment keeps pouring in, with Tencent leading the way by purchasing the rights to NBA games for USD 500 million from 2015-2020.
Li-Ning deal that gives them exclusivity for the teams’ apparel worth a reported USD 300 million.