Popularity of the National Basketball Association is booming in China – thanks to such star players as Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.
But the NBA also owes its surging appeal to Wendy Yu (BCom 1998 Trinity), who since 2000 has been at the centre of the league’s push into the country.
As the Beijing-based senior director of TV and digital media for the NBA’s China division, Yu oversees a team of 10 people in distributing NBA games, highlights and related programming to TV stations and Internet outlets. Currently 51 stations in China are broadcasting games, up to nine each week. Other major projects have been keeping Yu and her colleagues busy, too: last year saw the relaunch of the NBA’s China website and the creation of an original show, NBA Zhi Zao (“Made in the NBA”), focusing on local basketball stories.
Yu’s path to the NBA began with the Toronto Raptors: she began following the team while at U of T, and soon became a dedicated fan. “I would go to the games, watch them on TV and even tune in to the radio,” she says. After graduating, she returned to Hong Kong, where she learned of an opening in the local NBA office: “It looked to me like my dream job.”