By James Wells

USA: Chinese appliance manufacturer, Haier, has reaffirmed its involvement with basketball by signing a marketing partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

According to a report published by Reuters, the NBA Commissioner David Stern said the multi-year partnership agreement will provide the appliance manufacturer with promotion during basketball broadcasts, events and on the NBA website.

Haier ended its relationship with Australian basketball team, the Melbourne Tigers last year and has since been sponsoring the rugby league team, the Wests Tigers.

American industry analysts expect the NBA promotion to commence when Haier launches a range of high definition televisions into the US market over the next few months. The NBA expects to leverage the agreement with Haier by promoting the North American basketball competition in the appliance company’s domestic market.

Last week, Haier Australia announced a distribution agreement with Harvey Norman and an official announcement regarding an arrangement with the Narta group is imminent.

Haier plans to become a top three supplier in the Australia through the sales of whitegoods, but a range of LCD televisions and even small appliances are planned to help reach its ambitious goal.

According to Haier Australia marketing manager, Tony Gersback, there is unlikely to be any leverage rights over the NBA sponsorship agreement for the Australian market.