Asia League Holdings announced a $13 million funding round from a group of investors including Baron Davis, Metta Sandiford-Artest, Shane Battier, and investment firm Raine Group to launch the East Asia Super League.
The basketball league will consist of eight teams from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. Top teams from the China Basketball Association, an organization chaired by former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, are expected to join.
The funding puts Asia League at a $100 million valuation. It’s looking to raise an additional $30 million to $50 million.
East Asia Super League signed a 10-year deal with FIBA last year for an annual cross-region league similar to soccer’s UEFA Champions League.
- With broadcasting deals from Tencent Holdings and Naver Corp., the company has previously held invitational tournaments in Macau.
- It put on four invitational tournaments from 2017-2019 — its last one brought in 117 million viewers over six days.
The league is slated to begin in October 2022 and will run for five months. The Final Four weekend will include a music festival, and the league champion will receive $1 million in prize money.
The EASL aims to be among the top three basketball leagues by 2025 in terms of fan base and revenue. CEO Matt Beyer expects 230 million viewers during its first season.