Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group will be harnessing its mobile apps and website to stream a historic Pac-12 Conference game of the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Shanghai on Nov. 14.
The face-off between the men’s basketball teams of the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Texas Longhorns will be the first regular-season game, either collegiate or professional, ever hosted by a U.S. sports league in China. U.S. sports teams have staged plenty of exhibition games in China, but this is the first time the game will count on official team records.
Alibaba has exclusive rights to stream the November game and another Pac-12 game in 2016 to Chinese viewers. Hangzhou-based Alibaba is covering the cost for the games in China as part of a two-year deal with Pac-12. The deal marks Alibaba’s first official sponsorship of a U.S. sports team or other organization.
“We are proud to partner with the Pac-12 to bring this historic game to China,” Jim Wilkinson, Alibaba Group’s Senior Vice President, said in a statement. “This game and Alibaba Group’s involvement is consistent with our commitment to bringing the best of the world to China, and showcasing the best of China to the world.”
The November game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. An estimated 300 million people in China play basketball. Alibaba’s online platforms have an estimated 350 million users worldwide.