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Huang seeks to develop youth league in China

A CHINESE-BORN financier at the center of a deal to buy a stake in the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers has announced plans to invest in baseball in China.

QSL Sports Limited, led in part by Huang Jianhua, has formed a long-term binding partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association to develop the China Youth Baseball League, the company said in a statement yesterday.

QSL said it will invest millions of dollars over the next 10 years to "spearhead the drive to raise China's profile and standards in the sport."

The China Youth Baseball League will develop youth programs and host tournaments as well as broker sponsorships and broadcast rights, market baseball merchandise and manage players.

"It is my belief that China, as a sports-loving nation, has immense potential in offering great talent to the world of baseball at the highest levels," Huang was quoted as saying.

Huang made headlines last month by leading the investment group that signed an agreement with the Cavaliers to become minority owners of the NBA franchise and its arena.

Huang's group could buy up to 15 percent of Cavaliers Operating Company, which owns the team and operates Quicken Loans Arena, providing marketing opportunities for the Cavaliers and their star player LeBron James, who is already popular in China.

Huang has previously brokered sponsorship deals with the New York Yankees and other sports franchises in the United States. Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting company Sports Corp Ltd, will help set up and run the league and look after practice facilities.

Few Chinese play or watch baseball, although China fielded teams at both the Olympics and World Baseball Classic.


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