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Owners, sponsors grapple with CBA's unrealized potential

(China Daily)

11:04, April 02, 2013

Stephon Marbury (right) of the Beijing Ducks argues with a referee during the team's semifinal against the Shandong Golden Lions. Poor officiating has become a major issue in the CBA. (China Daily / Cui Meng)

Has the time come for major changes in the China Basketball Association?

Despite a boom in media and sponsorship interest, a growing number of teams are calling for structural changes to the league.

The CBA season concluded on Friday with the Guangdong Southern Tigers claiming their eighth title in 10 years, drawing solid TV ratings and attendance during their sweep of Shandong.

Big-name imports like Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas helped draw a reported investment of $322 million from sponsor Li-Ning, while a crop of young Chinese players emerged as potential stars.

Still, the CBA has a long way to go to reach its potential as a professional league.

Some owners think decision-making power needs to be decentralized.

"We are running this more like a government than a professional league," Shanghai Sharks owner and former NBA All-Star Yao Ming told Xinhua recently.

"The management rights should return to the league committee, which is composed of club representatives. That would allow policies to truly be made based on the actual situation and need of clubs.

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