Expanding American sports platforms internationally is really nothing new. There are American football games played in England, and full-blown baseball leagues in Japan.
But the Pac-12 is paving the latest road in bringing USA sports into a new frontier.
The Pac-12 Conference in conjunction with Pac-12 Networks announced Friday that they have teamed up with LeTV in China to bring men’s college basketball to the country next season.
It is just the latest push by the conference’s Globalization Initiative, which has been building ties with the Asia-Pacific region over the last few years. Since the initiative’s inception in 2011 the Pac-12 has hosted a number of exhibition games in China including men’s and women’s basketball as well as women’s volleyball.
The new deal will give LeTV exclusive distribution rights to 27 men’s basketball games “including every game of the Pac-12 Tournament,” the network announced via Pac-12.com. It is also the first conference to be streamed “in its entirety” over in China, the release said. And we aren’t just talking about TV either–LeTV is a multi-platform distributer. This means Pac-12 games being live-streamed on tablets, smartphones, computers and LeTV devices.
This is, of course, is just the beginning. The Pac-12 agreement with LeTV is a stepping stone to China hosting a men’s basketball tilt between University of Washington and University of Texas next November, making it “the first major U.S. sports league, professional or collegiate, to host a game regular season contest in China.”
*Section Photo credit to Ezra Shaw, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports