On Thursday, Penn Athletics announced that the remaining four home men’s basketball games will be broadcast live in Mandarin. Calling the games will be four Penn graduate students who are Chinese natives and speak fluent Mandarin. The contests will be shown in both English and Mandarin on ESPN+ in the United States and on Stretch Internet internationally. In China, the multinational technology conglomerate Tencent will simulcast the Penn broadcast.
“We are excited to bring our basketball brand to Mandarin-speaking fans in China and the United States," Penn Athletics Director M. Grace Calhoun said in a statement. "Enhancing our brand internationally is part of Penn Athletics' strategic plan and doing so in China, where the University has a strong relationship dating back to the early 19th century, is one way that we can support Penn's global objectives. We are thankful to our four Chinese graduate students and our campus partners for helping make the vision of Mandarin broadcasts a reality, and we are hopeful to continue these broadcasts in the years to come.”
Freshman forward Michael Wang is one of many Chinese natives who go to Penn. Originally from Taiyuan, China, Wang was a highly-touted recruit out of Mater Dei High School in California. He is one of three active Division I college basketball players from China, and his 9.7 points per game is good for third most on the team this season.
Basketball is not the only team at Penn looking to connect with its fans in China. Penn football will be there from March 2-10, where the Quakers will be playing against the American Football League of China All-Stars in the Penn-China Global Ambassadors Bowl in Shanghai on March 9.
The first pair of Mandarin broadcasts for men’s basketball will take place this weekend when the Red and Blue face Columbia and Cornell. Two weeks later, Penn will host Yale and Brown on March 8 and 9, respectively, in what is the final weekend before the Ivy League Tournament.