Real Madrid will become the latest Turkish Airlines Euroleague team to visit China when it faces the Beijing Ducks for an exhibition game on Friday, October 11 at MasterCard Center in Beijing. Madrid, the 2013 Euroleague runner-up, will spend several days in the Chinese capital taking part in a number of activities aimed at furthering the Euroleague Basketball's growing relationship with China and at sharing basketball experiences.
Madrid's visit joins a long list of joint previous exchanges between Chinese basketball and Euroleague leaders, coaches and teams. In recent years, China has sent its junior national team to compete at the Nike International Junior Tournament held annually at the Euroleague Final Four. Last summer Beijing coach Min Lulei visited Spain during the Spanish League playoffs and spent time observing and learning from local coaches. One of the teams he then visited was Real Madrid.
Madrid will also be the fourth team to visit the country and play against Chinese opponents in the last seven years. Alba Berlin of Germany conducted a preseason tour of China in 2011 and won the China Intercontinental Club Championships in Beijing. CSKA Moscow and Benetton Treviso represented Euroleague Basketball there in the 2007 CBA-Euroleague Challenge, held in Kunshan, near Shanghai.
Among the planned activities for Real Madrid’s visit will be promotional events with Chinese fans, practices open to local players and coaches and, of course, visiting some of country's famous sites.
The Euroleague's popularity in China has been growing nonstop in recent years. As many as two Euroleague games are broadcast in China each week by Guangdong TV and Letv. Last season’s Euroleague Final Four in London was broadcast on China’s national television network CCTV to an accumulated audience of approximately 8 million viewers. The Euroleague is also active in the Chinese social media world with accounts at Sina Weibo and RenRen.
"We are very proud that one of the best-known clubs in the world, Real Madrid, will be representing Euroleague Basketball in Beijing next October," Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO said. "Chinese fans will get to see up close not only the Turkish Airlines Euroleague runner-up from last season, but also one of the most exciting basketball teams in the world. This game is another step in our growing relationship with Chinese basketball, which includes the first player from that country, Shang Ping, coming to join the Euroleague this season with Panathinaikos Athens. We are convinced that with more and more opportunities like this to see Euroleague teams, the great fans in China will come to love our style of play and our devotion to the game of basketball."
"The visit of Real Madrid to China is a unique opportunity to extend even more the club's image and our basketball to a country with such impressive potential at all levels," Juan Carlos Sanchez, Basketball Director of Real Madrid, said. "It will be an enriching experience that foments the mutual understanding between Chinese and Spanish basketball. It's the first time that Real Madrid plays a game in China, and to have this opportunity now is an honor for us. We want to offer our best image and compete to the maximum so that fans in China enjoy a great show and take home unbeatable memories of our visit to their country."