The National Basketball Association (NBA) has teamed up with Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, to offer NBA-themed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and content to the virtual space in China.

This partnership aims to enhance fan engagement in China by launching a mini-app on Alipay, Ant Group’s flagship mobile app and China’s largest third-party payment platform.

The NBA is leading the way in integrating Web3 technology into its business model, and this partnership is expected to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds and attract more fans to the NBA.

This move is part of the NBA’s ongoing efforts to leverage the power of blockchain technology and NFTs to create new revenue streams and enhance fan engagement.

Furthermore, the NBA has already launched NBA Top Shot, an NFT collection that has seen tremendous success, with an NFT of Giannis Antetokounmpo selling for a record-breaking price of over US$187,000 ETH on Feb. 6.

The NBA has also partnered with blockchain gaming company Sorare to launch Sorare NBA, an Ethereum-based game where players can win, trade, and play with NFT basketball cards. This platform has seen significant success, with an increasing number of players and collectors showing interest in NFT basketball cards.

Ant Group has also entered the NFT space, and this partnership with NBA is expected to enhance its presence in the market.

Ant Group oversaw the sale of NFTs on Alipay, which are referred to as “digital collectibles” in mainland China. The company also collaborated with NBA in 2022 to issue Lunar New Year-themed digital collectibles in China.

China has been an important market for the NBA, with over 170 million fans across Chinese social media, according to NBA China.

The partnership with Ant Group is expected to enhance fan engagement and increase interest in the NBA among Chinese audiences.