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Pac-12 chief hails Alibaba partnership

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has hailed a partnership deal with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba that will allow the US college sports conference to host a groundbreaking regular-season basketball game in China.

The deal with Alibaba will run for two years, from 2015 to 2016, and covers the inaugural game between Pac-12 member the Washington Huskies and the Big 12’s Texas Longhorns at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena on November 14 as well as the 2016 game, the details of which have not been confirmed yet.

This year’s game will mark the first time that a US sports league, either collegiate or professional, will host a regular-season game in China.

Scott said that Alibaba’s commitment would cover the cost of the initiative, without disclosing further details. “It’s hard to know from a historical context to tell which are the tipping points,” he said, as quoted by Sports Illustrated. “But this feels significant to me. The fact that we are partnering with a company like Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in the world, validates the vision and the significance of what we’re doing.”

With reference to the Pac-12’s future opportunities in China, Scott added: “I definitely see a lot of potential for our activities to grow and the interest to grow. Exactly where that takes us is really hard to say. There’s a lot of potential to expand in a lot of different ways. There’s a great foundation of interest, bringing the best from America to China.”