NBA player James Harden is reeling from the shock of selling out his branded wine during a Chinese live stream event. The event, hosted by online celebrity Crazy Brother Yang, showcased the power of live streaming in China, a country passionate about basketball.
Harden, a Philadelphia 76ers guard, participated in the live stream with around 15 million viewers, where he promoted his J-Harden brand wine. Yang asked Harden about his usual daily sales, and the NBA player mentioned selling only a few cases per store.
During the live stream, Yang challenged Harden to witness the speed of sales. Harden accepted and watched as Yang initiated the sale. In just 14 seconds, Yang halted the sale, having received 5,000 orders at $60 for two bottles. This lightning-fast selling generated an impressive $300,000 in revenue, according to CNN. Upon observing the rapid sales, Harden expressed his disbelief while glancing at a computer monitor, followed by laughter and applause.
Live stream shopping has surged in China, becoming a lucrative industry worth billions. This approach combines entertainment and e-commerce, where hosts present viewers with flash deals and discount coupons in real time, CNN reported. Audiences can immediately purchase items from the streamers and send virtual “gifts” to their favorite celebrities.
Harden’s live stream gained significant traction on Chinese social media, leading fans to playfully suggest he should consider playing basketball in China instead of the NBA to capitalize on his local fan base.
Basketball holds immense popularity in China, largely due to the NBA career of Chinese icon Yao Ming. The league’s extensive engagement in China involves constructing courts, organizing preseason games, and initially providing free broadcasting rights, building a strong connection over several decades.
The NBA’s popularity among millions of Chinese fans results in profitable sponsorship agreements for both the league and its star athletes. Prior to the pandemic, China contributed to at least 10% of the NBA’s total revenue, as estimated by an analyst.