(Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers will add their names to the list of clubs who have visited China when they play a pair of exhibition contests next season as part of NBA China Games, the league said on Tuesday.
The games will be the 25th and 26th played in China while the Mavericks and 76ers will become the 16th and 17th teams as the NBA continues its push into the Asian market.
The preseason contests will be held on Oct. 5 in Shanghai and Oct. 8 in Shenzhen.
“We are excited to welcome the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks to China next preseason,” NBA China CEO David Shoemaker said in statement. “The 25th and 26th NBA games in China mark another milestone in our efforts to bring the authentic NBA experience to our passionate Chinese fans.”
The Mavericks, who failed to qualify for a playoff spot this season, feature 13-time NBA All-Star and 2011 NBA Finals most valuable player Dirk Nowitzki of Germany. The 76ers, who are back in the postseason this year, are led by dynamic Australian and rookie of the year candidate Ben Simmons.
“When I played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I witnessed China’s enthusiasm for basketball firsthand,” said Nowitzki. “It will be a fantastic experience for our franchise to play in China for the first time.
“We’re also excited about the possibility of reconnecting with two great Chinese players who played for the Mavericks, Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian.”
China has grown into the NBA’s biggest and most important market outside of North America.
The NBA currently has relationships with a network of television and digital media outlets in China, including a 31-year partnership with CCTV and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of China-based corporations and U.S.-based multi-nationals.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis