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Monday, June 21, 2010

Cavs Deal With Chinese Investment Group Still Up in the Air

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 2:20 PM


It seems like forever ago now that the news of a partnership between the Cavs and a Chinese investment group broke. Synergy at its finest would be one way to describe it. As the NBA strives to expand its presence in the Asian market, the Cavs, with the biggest superstar on the planet, were a natural fit. The Cavs struck a sponsorship deal with Tsingtao, too, creating synergistic synergy, or something.

But the deal still isn't done. The deal was supposed to allow Albert Hung and his investors to grab up to a 15% ownership stake in the Cavs, essentially buying out David Katzman's share. It could be worth up to $70 million, but nothing has been officially presented to the NBA as of yet.

Why? Well, LeBron, of course. Why would the Chinese investment group consent to anything official, to any official dollar amount, until LeBron's fate is known?

From Sports Business Journal (subscription):

Our marketing and business relationship efforts with the Chinese continue to grow, evidenced by our Tsingtao Beer relationship and others that we are exploring,” Komoroski said.

The uncertainty hovering over the minority investment deal comes as owner Dan Gilbert tries to keep star LeBron James in Cleveland. Keeping James would be a big asset to the Chinese investment group looking to market the NBA in China. James becomes a free agent July 1.

“The Cavs’ profile has increased markedly in China so much so that the largest brewery in China became a multiyear, multimillion-dollar sponsor of the Cavs,” said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp Ltd., which helped broker the Cavs’ Tsingtao sponsorship deal.

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