Asia News: NBA Exhibitions Sell Out; CJ ENM Bets On VR; Chinese Govt. May Delay Live Concert Streams

Washington Wizards’ Monte Morris, left, plays against Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry during their preseason NBA basketball game, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, at Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, north of Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)


NBA Exhibitions Sell Out

The National Basketball Association held two preseason games between the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 at the Saitama Arena north of Tokyo. Both games were sold out.

According to AP, the games are the NBA’s latest marketing push into Japan, where more and more companies are signing on as NBA sponsors. The Warriors, for instance, wore jerseys that included a patch advertising Rakuten, one of Japan’s biggest online retailers.

Another major advertiser is Nissan Motor Co., which is a big sponsor of Japanese baseball and soccer teams and recently ended a major deal with Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka. The Warriors-Wizard games were Nissan’s first foray into basketball.

Rakuten, which has paid the Warriors $20 million a year since 2017 to wear their patches, also has a separate deal with the team’s star, Stephen Curry.

Tickets for the games went as high as $2,900 for courtside VIP seats. One sports analyst told AP that building a fan base in Asia should result in more sponsorship deals, and the NBA managed to round up 15 marketing partners for the two games in addition to the four it already had on board.

Between 1990 and 2003, NBA teams played 12 regular season games in Japan, but with the addition of two Japanese players to NBA teams in recent years, the interest in basketball has reached new heights in Japan.

Rui Hachimura has been a star for Wizards for several years now, and another Japanese player, Yuta Watanabe, recently signed with the Brooklyn Nets. In addition, Olympian Rui Machida signed earlier this year with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.


CJ ENM Bets On U.S. VR Platform

CJ ENM, one of Korea’s biggest entertainment companies, has invested an undisclosed amount of money in the U.S. concert platform AmazeVR as part of its ongoing strategy to increase its business stake in various technologies related to online music content.

AmazeVR produces hyper-real live action footage of artists performing in virtual 3D environments. The company has already worked with another major Korean entertainment company, SM Entertainment, on a joint venture called Studio A.

CJ ENM’s idea is to develop its already existing intellectual property as VR content so that it can advance more readily into the VR field, according to The company’s CEO, Kang Ho-sung, said in a statement, “We are excited to partner with AmazeVR, a company that is leading premium VR content production technology, to lead a new paradigm in the entertainment industry.”

In addition, AmazaVR CEO, Ernest Lee, said, “With the support of our dedicated investment partners, we’re excited to enter the next age of VR concert production and deliver some really amazing performances. We are talking to iconic names in music to continue to bring the best experiences to their fans.”


Streaming Concerts To Be Delayed By Govt.

Chinese authorities will likely start implementing broadcast delays for all live online performances for the purpose of better monitoring and restricting their content.

A draft regulation published on Sept. 23 by the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism states that the “streaming of live online performances, such as concerts, music festivals and operas, shall be conducted in ‘delayed’ mode,” according to the South China Morning Post.

This procedure will allow performances deemed to be “problematic” to be blocked.

The proposal also says that internet platforms will have to apply for pre-approval when an online performance involves foreign talent or when the performance takes place outside of China. No mention is made of what kind of content would be blocked.

The new regulation is a further step in the government’s ongoing process of clamping down on online content, especially in the face of the pandemic, which caused widespread cancellation of in-person concerts in China.

In June, the National Radio and Television Administration and the culture ministry posted an 18-point guideline for online “influencers,” as well as 31 “behaviors” that would be prohibited during live-streaming sessions.

The new concert delay measure will likely have a huge impact, says SCMP, given how popular online concerts have become in China. Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau recently set a record for attracting 350 million viewers to a concert he performed on the Douyin platform.