2015 CBA Professional League soars again: Final games achieve close to 200 million unique viewers in China

The basketball highlight is at the forefront of Chinese sports programming, further exceeding the previous year’s average viewers for the finals by 50 per cent and recording a cumulative audience of 434 million over the six games


Beijing, China – The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and its exclusive media and marketing partner Infront Sports & Media have registered a record 191 million unique viewers for the 2015 CBA Professional League finals, aired on CCTV and other regional TV networks in China. The audience levels for the best-of-seven series, battled out between the Liaoning Leopards and the Beijing Ducks between 10 and 22 March 2015, achieved a 50 per cent climb compared to the previous year in terms of average viewers per game – from 11.7 million in 2014 to 17.4 million in 2015. The cumulative audience over the six games totalled at 434 million.

As the Beijing Ducks took the championship in the decisive sixth game on Sunday with a 106:98 victory in the sold-out Lianoning stadium, claiming their third CBA League title with a total score of 4:2, the number of average viewers reached 19 million that tuned in on nationwide channel CCVT-5 as well as local channels. All over China, tension rose over the final series – from the first game’s 15.3 million live viewers on average to the 19 million in the sixth game. Similarly, the number of unique Chinese viewers who watched the individual final games went up from over 45 in the first to 60 million in the last game. The high sportive appeal and tight competition of the final series was further underlined by the immense resonance in the respective home provinces of the two teams – with 45 per cent market share in Beijing and 42 per cent in Lianoning.

Even before its culmination during the finals, the soaring success of the CBA League was already apparent during the thrilling semi-finals (best-of-five), which sent the two teams to the finals in early March. The fourth game, which saw the Guangdong Southern Tigers defeated by the Beijing Ducks (total 3:1) reached a strong 68 million viewers on CCTV-5 and other local stations.

A must-watch sports event

Pierre Justo, Managing Director of CSM Media Research-KantarSport Asia, said: “In the end, the 2015 CBA finals were truly a big TV success from many angles – with a huge 50 per cent increase as compared to the previous year, with the total number of unique viewers reaching a staggering 191 million, and with games that will most likely end up the year in the Top 10 of the most watched sports programs in China. These results show the leading and healthy position of the CBA in the professional sports scene of China, as well as the strong interest in basketball in that part of the world.’’

Ma Guoli, Chairman of the Board of Infront China, commented: “This is another milestone moment for Chinese basketball – establishing itself year after year on top positions in the TV rankings. With the roster this year expanded to 20 teams to engage additional territories, together with the CBA we have managed to further spread the fascination of the CBA Leauge across the country. This continuity each season guarantees a strong and sustainable return for the brands seeking awareness in the Chinese market – associating themselves with the indisputable leading sports property in China.”

This year, the CBA sponsors’ pyramid was headed by Official Strategic Partner Li Ning (sports goods and game ball), followed by the seven Official Partners FAW Volkswagen (cars), JD.com (e-commerce), ExxonMobil (energy), Sohu (internet portal), PPTV (video website), Tsingtao Brewery (beverage) and Stanley Black & Decker (tools and security provider).

Besides the national and regional TV coverage across China, the final games were broadcast by i-cable in Hong Kong and by OWS in North America. On the digital side, the CBA League’s official site sohu.com streamed the final series.

About Infront Sports & Media

Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football and summer sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 160 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of experienced staff working from 25 offices across 13 countries, delivering 4,000 event days of top class sport around the world every year.

www.infrontsports.com/cba