Industry insiders discuss possible expansion of CBA league
Published: Mar 28, 2023 05:07 PM
2023 CBA All-Star Rookie Challenge in Xiamen, Southeast China Photo:Xinhua

2023 CBA All-Star Rookie Challenge in Xiamen, Southeast China Photo:Xinhua

On the sidelines of Chinese basketball's All-Star Weekend, several industry insiders discussed the potential expansion of China's top-tier basketball league, the CBA.

Yao Ming, President of the Chinese Basketball Association, said that the CBA league remains a key area for developing Chinese basketball, emphasizing the balance between social responsibility and economic growth of the league. 

Liu Fumin, former director of the Economic Department under the General Administration of Sport, suggested that the CBA should include more teams from western parts of China to increase the sport's influence in the region.  

Currently, only two teams, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers and the Sichuan Whales, represent western regions, while 18 teams are located in eastern China.

Photo: Courtesy of the Chinese Basketball Association

Photo: Courtesy of the Chinese Basketball Association

Bao Mingxiao, Executive Dean of China Sports Policy Research Institute at Beijing Sport University, believes it is necessary to expand the league, but he cautioned that it is too early to execute it. He suggested that there is room for discussion among teams on how to introduce more teams from western and central China to join the CBA league.

Bai Gongding, a research director with the Sports Industry Development Research Center at Tsinghua University, suggested that invitational games could be implemented to introduce new teams to the league, which could improve the game awareness among more people.

Expectations on the CBA league expansion were high until last month the Xinjiang team announced its exit from the league due to a dispute over China international Zhou Qi's contract. However, the team overturned its decision after two weeks.

Zhang Xiong, CEO of the CBA league, said the league would expand "when conditions are ripe." 

The weekend witnessed the Northern Division All-Star team defeating their Southern counterparts 117:113. This was the first time that the All-Star Weekend was held in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province.