Liaoning's maiden title leaves mark on CBA history

Xinhua
It  was a moment long in the making as Liaoning won the Chinese Basketball Association championship for the first time in its 23-year history.
Xinhua

It was a moment long in the making as Liaoning won the Chinese Basketball Association championship for the first time in its 23-year history.

After the last game of the finals against Zhejiang Guangsha, Yao Ming, former NBA All-Star, presented the championship to Liaoning. It was the first trophy Yao presented as chairman of the CBA League Sports Co.

The CBA League reform started with the establishment of the CBA League Sports Co at the end of 2016. The number of teams in the playoffs was increased to 10 this season and will reach 12 in the next 4 seasons.

Although there is no change in the number of games in the regular season, to enhance promotion and increase exposure the games have been rescheduled, running from Tuesday to Sunday every week.

In order to have a steady flow of excellent young players in the CBA League, the CBA Reserve League, similar to the NBA G League, scheduled its games during the season as well.

According to statistics from China’s Central TV, TV ratings this season rose compared to last season, setting a new record with an average rating of 1.25 percent during CCTV-5’s live coverage of the first game of the finals.

During semifinals and finals, Liaoning moved to the Liaoning Stadium to host the games. Together with Beijing, Guangdong and Shenzhen, Liaoning became the fourth team to hold games in a stadium with a capacity in excess of 10,000. Just 6 years ago, not a single formal CBA game was held in such stadia.

Asked about the operation of the league, Yao said this season saw the CBA operating income reach the highest it’s ever been.

Northeastern Liaoning Province is a sports powerhouse. In the course of China’s competitive sports development, Liaoning used to be a leader at one time, closely linked to its relatively advanced industrial base and economic performance.

In recent years, the economy of Liaoning, and that of China’s northeastern region, has encountered some difficulties.

But in the field of basketball, relying on a solid player base, Liaoning has established a sophisticated system for talent building, becoming one of the largest talent pools in China.

Among the 200 players registered in the CBA League, around 50 are from the province, and quite a few of them have experience of training in Liaoning.

“Now, capital from across China is being invested in junior basketball and football programs. That is a good thing, for it shows that the atmosphere for extracurricular training has been recognized,” said Song Kai, Liaoning sports bureau chief.


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